Top Employers in Arkansas Keep Steady Payroll of Workers

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Apr. 15, 2013 12:00 am  

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville employs 47,774 workers in Arkansas. 

The top five largest employers in Arkansas have seen some bumps since last year, but they remain in the same order.

(Buy the List: Purchase a printable PDF version of the list of Top Arkansas Employers by clicking here. A spreadsheet is also available for purchase here.)

With 57,421, the state government employs about 10,000 more than the next highest on the list, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, which has 47,774. Both of those saw increases over the previous year. The only entry in the top five that has fallen is Baptist Health of Little Rock, where the workforce contracted less than 2 percent, from 7,878 to 7,737.

Some of the top 10 have shifted around. For example, Arvest Bank Group Inc. jumped up several spots with an 8 percent gain, which might be expected since it just acquired nine branches in Arkansas from Bank of America.

Very few of the companies on the list had a change of more than 5 percent from the previous year, but a few had shifts of more than 20 percent. Among them was O.K. Industries Inc., the poultry supplier in Fort Smith that was sold to a Mexican company, Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V., in 2011. After contracting after the sale — and after correcting for an incorrect figure submitted in 2012 — the company’s Arkansas workforce grew almost 30 percent over the past year.

The employment number for Lowe’s Cos. Inc. appears to jump more than 300 percent between 2012 and 2013. Lowe’s employee count for 2012 of 743 meant it didn’t appear on our print list that year.

The number for 2013 was given to Arkansas Business by a Lowe’s representative. The representative couldn’t explain the big jump between the two numbers. According to the Lowe’s website, the company has a total of 1,712 stores in the country, 20 of which are in Arkansas. CNN’s Global 500 reported in 2011 that Lowe’s had 197,500 employees total.

Highest-Paying Jobs

Arkansas Business also compiled a list of the highest paying occupations in the state, which is — not surprisingly — dominated by medical professions.

This first-ever list makes use of data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s May 2012 report called “State Occupational Employment & Wage Estimates.” The occupations are ranked by mean annual wage, but the list also shows mean hourly wages where applicable and the number of people in the state engaged in that particular occupation.

(Buy the List: Purchase a printable PDF version of the list of Arkansas' Highest Paying Occupations by clicking here. A spreadsheet is also available for purchase here.)

The data also offers a “location quotient” that indicates whether Arkansas has a higher or lower concentration of a specific occupation than the national average, which is represented by 1.0.



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