Arkansas Economy

Arkansas has ended its fiscal year with a $177.4 million surplus. The state Department of Finance and Administration announced Tuesday the state's net available revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30 totaled $5.3 billion. That's $117.3 million higher than the previous fiscal year.

Business growth across the state took a step back in June, but a highly-watched economic indicator for the Mid-America region that includes Arkansas predicts Great Britain’s exit from the European Union will have minimal effect on the state economy. Talk Business & Politics reports:

Monopoly Suit On Little Rock Taxis Plods On

Jun 23, 2016

A lawsuit intended to introduce a second taxi cab company into Little Rock has passed an early hurdle. A motion by the City of Little Rock to dismiss the suit about a monopoly operator was denied in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Judge Alice gray issued the ruling on Thursday.

A city ordinance requires new cab companies that want to compete with the city’s one existing company obtain a permit granted based on “public convenience and necessity.” Ken Leininger, who wants to operate Ken’s Cab, had a permit denied in 2015.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Mike Preston.
TalkBusiness.net

Arkansas officials say a lumber mill that shut down six years ago is reopening, creating 136 new jobs.
 
The state Economic Development Commission on Wednesday announced that Caddo River Forest Products is spending up to $50 million to re-open the Glenwood sawmill. Officials said they expect another 200 to 300 indirect jobs to be created through the project.
 

Personal Income Percent Change 2015: Quarter IV-2015 Quarter I.
bea.gov

Personal income growth in Arkansas - at 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016 - bested the national average of 1 percent growth, in a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Earnings, which make up the largest contribution to personal income, were up 1.1 percent overall with a 1.7 percent uptick in Arkansas.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Traffic at Arkansas’ three largest commercial airports improved in May, and shipping on the Arkansas River has recovered from the rain-induced slowdown in 2015, according to information in the June edition of the Arkansas Transportation Report.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate remains at a record low, coming in at 3.8 percent in May. 

p>The jobless rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point from April's numbers. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says there were 51,773 unemployed people in Arkansas in May. That continues a steady decrease from February 2011, when a record 114,892 people were unemployed in the state.

Arkansas GDP growth 2007-2015.
arkansaseconomist.com

Arkansas’s gross domestic product grew a little more slowly than the national average in 2015, according to a report released on Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The state’s gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent last year while U.S. GDP rose 2.4 percent. In 2014 Arkansas’s GDP growth rate was 2.1 percent.

UAMS campus in Little Rock.
UAMS

Talk Business and Politics reports

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is about to embark on a critical time for revenue, Dr. Dan Rahn, the school’s chancellor, told members of a newly formed “Friends of UAMS” chapter in Fort Smith.

File photo. Construction of Big River Steel plant in Mississippi County.
bigriversteel.com

A federal appeals court panel has upheld a judge's decision to dismiss a steel company's lawsuit challenging a rival's $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes' dismissal of the lawsuit by Nucor Steel that sought to stop Big River Steel from building a steel mill in Osceola, about 20 miles from a Nucor plant.

Nucor had appealed Holmes' ruling that the court didn't have jurisdiction over the case.

Stock Photo

Confidence among Arkansas consumers about the economy and their personal finances continues to increase, according to the latest Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey completed this spring.

The report compiled by the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research twice a year. According to the survey conducted in March, 38% of Arkansas consumers expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next 12 months, up from 28% in September.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock.
KUAR News

Arkansas finance officials say a mild winter and a court settlement led revenue numbers to dip below forecast for the month of May but be above levels compared to the same month last year.

In May gross general revenue fell 1.7 percent below forecast at $432.9 million and sales tax collections dropped $21.2 million or 11 percent below expectations.

Talk Business and Politics reports

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Fort Smith on Wednesday (June 1) by laying out a strategy for the future of Arkansas economic development.

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Retail giant Walmart is betting big on grocery pickup as a way to fend off Amazon’s fresh home delivery offering. But while the efforts are being accelerated by Walmart, consumers are slow to adopt the new service, according to a study by Fayetteville-based Field Agent and consultants close to the situation.

 

Talk Business and Politics reports

Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently touted to business leaders that the state has added 42,000 new jobs and reached an all-time low jobless rate of 3.9% during the first 16 months of his administration.

The Red River in southwest Arkansas.
US Geological Survey

The governor’s short-term highway funding plan is splitting the agenda with 14 other items in the special session of the Arkansas Legislature convening Thursday. Bills have yet to be filed but drafts are drawn up to re-organize the state’s levee system and to end a workers compensation fund among other items.

Gretchen Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, likes the numbers she sees.

Last year, Pulaski County accounted for 13,000 travel-related jobs and 6.1 million visitors who spent nearly $1.8 billion in travel expenditures. That translates into more than $31 million in travel-related local taxes and $69 million in travel-related state taxes.

Why is the capital city so attractive for visitors?

A proposed bill that would do away with the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund has support from some legislators and organized labor but not the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, which supports ending the fund, but after more consideration.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Before the market opens Monday, Tyson Foods is expected to post $403 million in net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 which ended. That equates to a Wall Street consensus of $1.03 per share, up 38% over the 75 cents per share reported in the same quarter of 2015.

The company posted net income of $313 million in the year-ago period.

Arkansas has received $49.6 million in the latest annual payment from the tobacco industry as part of a 1998 settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
 
State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Wednesday that the money supports several programs, including tobacco cessation efforts, public health programs for minorities and older Arkansans, increased Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and increased hospital benefits for some Medicaid beneficiaries and for medical and agricultural research.
 

New Hampshire-based SIG SAUER has announced plans to move an ammunition plant to Arkansas from Kentucky.

The company said Wednesday in a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission that its Elite Performance Ammunition plant will move to Jacksonville and create about 50 jobs when it opens by the end of the year. The plant is currently located in Eubank, Kentucky.

Arkansas finance officials say strong individual income tax collections and lower than expected tax refunds kept the state's revenue in April above both the forecast and the same month last year.

The Department of Finance and Administration reported Tuesday that the state's net available revenue in April totaled $661.3 million. That's $37.2 million above April 2015 and $37.1 million above forecast.

The net available revenue for the fiscal year to date totals nearly $4.9 billion, which is $110 million above forecast.

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Business growth in Arkansas lost a step in April as a leading economic indicator for the region shows the state’s manufacturing, farming and energy sectors continue to shed jobs and affect overall economic expansion.

Arkansas Capitol building.
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Legislation outlining Arkansas' $5.3 billion budget for the coming year calls for funding increases for the state's Department of Human Services and public schools, with $13.8 million in money being set aside for the rainy day fund.

Legislative leaders on Sunday released the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the budget bill that calls for a $142.7 million increase in spending. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he expects his chamber to take up the legislation on Wednesday with lawmakers hoping to wrap up the fiscal session this week.

www.sunpapergroup.com/

The investment in south Arkansas by one of China's largest private companies, Sun Paper, is considered a win by state economic development officials. However, some have concerns about the implications of the country's manufacturing practices and what it will mean for workers at the new bio-products mill near Arkadelphia. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing a $1 billion investment by a Chinese company in a Clark County paper mill.
Arkansas Business

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Chinese company Sun Paper will build a $1 billion bio-products mill in southern Arkansas, creating 250 jobs. Hutchinson was joined by Sun Paper chairman and founder Hongxin Li in making the announcement Tuesday.

greencarreports.com

A service that tracks gasoline prices says the per-gallon cost of a gallon in Arkansas has risen eight cents in the past week, to an average of $1.90.

In Little Rock, the price averaged $1.89. That price is down 34 cents from a year ago and down nearly two dollars from five years ago.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Inc. has announced a proposal to build a new processing facility near its existing poultry plant in Green Forest.

The Springdale-based company says the $136 million project is contingent in part on the approval of incentives from Carroll County and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The company says the project would create about 85 jobs once it's fully operational.

Stock Photo

  

The Arkansas jobless rate fell to its lowest level in the state’s history in March, declining two percentage points from last’s month’s previous hallmark while adding more than 7,000 new workers.

Foreclosure activity in Arkansas’ three largest metro areas and in the nation is below recession-related highs, according to Irvine, Calif.,-based RealtyTrac.com. There were 289,116 U.S. foreclosure filings recorded in the first three months of the year, down 8% from a year ago, the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2006.

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