Lottery Execs Hit the JackPot & A Cautionary Tale in Arkansas Business This Week

We’re back in business. Here’s the latest from the Monday print edition of Arkansas Business:

Remember those phat lottery salaries everybody was so riled up about for about five minutes a few months ago? They’re big enough to put a few lottery workers among the “jocks and docs” on our annual list of highest-paid Arkansas state employees. Lottery director Ernie Passailaigue at No. 9.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal gets some advice for all those lottery winners out there: “Pay off your debts and put it into something super conservative for six months and have time to catch your breath and have rational thoughts.”

Economist Jeff Collins, who headed the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business, was on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers and is a partner in Streetsmart Data Services LLC of Fayetteville, isn’t immune from personal financial crisis, having filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month. This week, Collins talks to Arkansas Business’ Mark Friedman about what happened and lessons learned.


Kris Allen, Affiliated Foods & the John Glasgow Reward in This Week’s Arkansas Business

What's next for Allen's career?

What's next for Allen's career?

Lots happening in this week’s Arkansas Business, online now. And yes, that’s Kris Allen on the cover. Highlight’s from this week’s edition:

A Sort of Homecoming – Kris Allen vies for the title of American Idol this week. Win or lose, how will his life change after the results are in? Mark Hengel talks to agents, money managers and another Arkansas reality TV champ, Korto Momolu, about Allen’s prospects.

Great Timing – Allen-mania strikes right smack-dab in the middle of May sweeps. And you better believe Little Rock Fox affiliate KLRT Fox 16 is wringing it for all it’s worth.

The Search ContinuesThe reward for missing CDI Contractors CFO John Glasgow increases by $100,000. “There‚Äôs someone out there that knows what happened to John, and we just feel like money talks.”

Winners and Losers – In the aftermath of Affiliated Foods Southwest’ bankruptcy, a few companies stand to benefit. And then there’s the co-op’s employees and investors.

Brother, Can You Spare $9 Million? Little Rock attorney Gene Cauley’s got major problems.

This Is D-Mac’s House – Former Razorback super-star Darren McFadden, now with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, just bought a $638,000 home overlooking the Arkansas River. And that’s to say nothing of that giant painting of himself.

Rebound – In the mortgage lending game, things are finally looking up.

Moving Out – More than likely, Verizon Wireless will pare its Little Rock office holdings by 230,000 SF to 425,000 SF. Who’s up for some Riverfront office space?

Lost Its ImmunityJeff Collins says northwest Arkansas has lost is economic immunity card.

About Face – Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan has a very popular Facebook page.

Pondering Arkansas’ Puzzling Jobs Picture

Earlier this afternoon, I did a quick interview with KFSM-TV, Channel 5, in northwest Arkansas, the local CBS affiliate, on the region’s jobs outlook and the puzzlement over some metropolitan unemployment numbers and others reported on Tuesday.

According to the unemployment story, by reporter Mark Hengel

Arkansas’ six metropolitan areas once again have shown better year-over-year employment statistics than the rest of the nation.

For the second month in a row, Jonesboro’s unemployment rate fell more than any area in the nation.

The city’s unemployment rate in October clocked in at 4.3 percent, compared with 4.9 percent for the same period a year ago. In all, five of Arkansas’ metropolitan areas fell in October when compared with the October 2007 numbers, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data (PDF).

This raised eyebrows among many, considering all we’re hearing about recession and job cuts (particularly the loss of 350,000 jobs nationwide coming Friday). It seems especially unbelievable in Fort Smith, which has been rocked by numerous layoff announcements, including two today.

The biggest of those has been Whirlpool, which announced in September that it will lay off 700 of its 2,100 workers beginning in November. Others announcing layoffs include Riverside Furniture (250 by January) and Jarden Process Solutions (93 also by January).

So why these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show sunny times in Arkansas? We think it over after the jump.

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