Metroplan: Slow, Steady Growth and More Youth in Urban Core

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 9:46 am  

Metroplan's 2013 Economic Review and Outlook

Metroplan on Monday released its 2013 "Economic Review and Outlook," revealing slow but steady economic growth for central Arkansas and an increase in the number of young adults seeking homes in the urban core.

Metroplan is the federally designated planning organization for Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline and Lonoke counties. It is a voluntary association of local governments that has existed since 1955.

Each year, it publishes two reports, the "Demographic Review and Outlook" and the "Economic Review and Outlook." 

Read the new economic report here (PDF).

The economic outlook for fall 2013 showed the region slightly behind the U.S. in terms of economic growth but ahead of the rest of the state, as well as accelerated growth over last year. In addition, young adults ages 25 to 34 are showing a greater preference for living in the urban core as opposed to outlying areas, the report said.

Regional housing construction was up in the region over the first half of 2013, led by 35 percent growth in Cabot and 16 percent growth in Benton.

The report also addressed sustainable manufacturing in the region, patent and entrepreneurship trends and the potential impact of innovation generated by the BioVentures biotechnology incubator at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the planned Argenta Innovation Center and Little Rock Technology Park.

The following are excerpts from parts of the report:


The report said employment growth and rate of employment have improved over the year. But Arkansas employment is growing more slowly than the U.S. average, even as the state's unemployment rate has declined to 6.5 percent in August from 7.9 percent in 2010.

"However, much of the local drop in unemployment owes to declining labor force participation, a sign that some individuals have opted out of the job market. Based on Metroplan population estimates and Arkansas Department of Workforce Services employment data, local job growth is running slower than local population growth."

Downsizing in the telecommunications sector has resulted in a net job loss in Arkansas' information sector, the report said. Jobs in wholesale trade have also declined.



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