Council CEO: Northwest Arkansas Positioned to Pave Path to Recovery

by Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff  on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 2:48 pm  

While concerns over a possible “fiscal cliff” at year’s end temper most predictions for the local, state and national economies for 2013, many indicators show a good chance for a continued economic recovery.

“If the overall national and international recovery continues, Northwest Arkansas will lead the state and nation,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council.

The council is a nonprofit organization that works to promote economic development in the region by improving education, infrastructure and quality of life.

Unemployment in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area remains the lowest in the state — 5 percent in October — according to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

Malone said Northwest Arkansas’ recovery is broad-based, though the area hasn’t recovered lost jobs in construction and manufacturing as quickly as the rest of the nation has.

However, he said, “the Northwest Arkansas housing market has clearly bottomed, and the recovery appears to be robust. Employment growth in construction should follow.”

The region should also see some recovery in manufacturing next year, as well as gains in transportation jobs, Malone said.

At some point, though, employment in the trades will be exceeded by the new growth industries in Northwest Arkansas, Malone said. He cited these as health care, management, education, food and accommodation, and professional, scientific and technical services.

Here’s a look at how some key local industry sectors could shake out next year:

 

Banking

Bill Holmes, executive director of the Arkansas Bankers Association, listed several reasons why the state’s bankers should be optimistic about 2013.

 

 

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