Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Economic Forecast for Northwest Arkansas

I attended the Business Forecast 2007 luncheon January 26th, which is presented annually by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the U of A Sam M. Walton College of Business. Once again, NW Arkansas outshines the rest of the state in almost every aspect one might consider.

Three top economic forecasters presented their vision of the world, national, and state/ regional economies.

Here is a summary of the NW Arkansas information I took away from the meeting:

Arkansas in general conforms closely to the national economy, but NW Arkansas far surpasses the rest of the state.

The key point of Arkansas Bankers Association Chairman and UA Associate Professor of Finance Timothy J. Yeager is that NW Arkansas has been the main economic driver for the entire state and this will continue into the foreseeable future.

Arkansas has three main economies – Little Rock/North Little Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area, the Fort Smith MSA and the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA, which includes Bentonville plus McDonald County, Missouri.

Although a loss of manufacturing jobs slowed the state’s overall economy in 2006, the state is expected to closely echo the economic growth of the country during 2007 with some variations in regional performance.

NW Arkansas created 62,400 new jobs in 2006, or 61% of all the new jobs created in the state. Little Rock created 36,500 jobs, or 35% of the total. The rest of the state saw only 4,000 jobs created, or 4% of the total.

The Fort Smith area is suffering greatly due to the loss of manufacturing jobs, which are being out-sourced to other countries.

The main negative in NW Arkansas is the oversupply of new homes available. However, NW Arkansas remains recession-proof despite the housing slowdown. People are still moving here at the rate of some 1,100 people per month which means the homes will be absorbed--it will just take a year or possibly longer. “Housing will not take Northwest Arkansas off track” said Yeager.

All in all, an excellent forecast for NW Arkansas.

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