Arkansas economy recovering well along several indicators, not so well along several others

A July 30 report on shows that, in general, Arkansas is recovering better from the recession than is the United States as a whole.  However, Michael Pakko, who is our state’s economic forecaster, said the recovery here is still “painfully slow.”

One area that’s been particularly slow recently is personal income.  In Arkansas, that indicator was up 0.3% in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter last year.  Pakko said it “was the slowest among all the positive growth rates in the nation.”

The forecaster did note that personal income in Arkansas is roughly 6% higher than it was at its highest when the recession started.  Overall, that’s a good sign.

Home sales in the second quarter of 2012 dropped some compared with the first quarter.  Pakko earlier had predicted that sales of homes here would be up by 7.5 percent over last year.

Unemployment throughout the state, according to the article, dropped to 7.2% in June from 7.3% in May.  In June there was a total of 99,185 without jobs.  Pakko said it was the first time since early 2009 that unemployment numbers in the state have fallen below 100,000.  Overall, there has been an increase of 6,900 non-farm jobs since 2011.

Pakko added that this number could go up as high as 16,000, after employment data was revised.

Obviously, we’d rather see huge increases in all the positive indicators and decreases in the negative ones.  But we’re glad to be experiencing growth in some areas, and we’re confident that growth will continue as both Arkansas and the country go farther along the road to recovery.

Concerning the Arkansas economy, here are some facts you may not know.

  • About 36% of the state is farmland, 60% of which is used raise livestock.
  • The top revenue-producing agricultural products are broilers (young chickens), rice, soybeans, cattle and calves, and cotton.
  • 46% of all rice produced in the U.S. comes from Arkansas, making it the largest rice producer in the nation.
  • Arkansas is 10th in the nation in soybean production.
  • The top service industries in the state are wholesale – automobiles, farm products, mined products, and retail – department stores, discount stores, food stores. 

You can read a little more about Arkansas’ economy at

Take pride in Arkansas.  Work together for economic growth.

Nick & Ellie