Arkansas gets the front-page treatment in today’s USA Today newspaper, with an article talking about how the Natural State is among the few in the country with a relatively stable economy and low metropolitan unemployment.
The explanation is one we’ve heard many times before: We missed the highs of the bubble economy, so we’ve also been spared the crushing lows of the recession:
Layoffs and foreclosures are on the rise and some business investments are on hold, but unemployment rates remain well below the national level in Arkansas and several other states, including Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia. New companies are moving in and some are expanding, adding a few hundred jobs here and a few hundred there.
In December, Forbes named Little Rock one of the best middle-class housing markets because median home prices were rising while the national market was plummeting.
Those small successes are magnified in a dismal economic climate, especially when they play out in states that have never been economic high-flyers or big population gainers. “Arkansas never really experienced extreme highs or extreme lows,” says Jim Youngquist, director of The Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
But USA Today also notes that cutbacks are still taking place here. It points to that recent layoff by LM Glasfiber and a $20 million revenue drop in Arkansas’ December revenue report. That gives Gov. Mike Beebe an opening to talk about the importance of workforce education in retraining workers with new skills for work in other sectors.
See the full article here.