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

"Although the recovery continues to be painfully slow, the Arkansas economy has not lapsed into recession. Employment growth—particularly in manufacturing and construction—is lagging behind the rest of the nation. However, overall employment is rising, incomes are growing, and sales continue to expand." -- Michael Pakko, economist at the Arkansas Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

"Little Rock is clearly in recovery mode, however sales tax revenues are only slightly improved. Little Rock weathered the recession quite well, with our unemployment rate hovering around 6+ percent, clearly 2 points below the national unemployment rate and 1 point consistently below the state average. Forbes has ranked Little Rock as having the fourth best economy in the nation. We have seen more than $1 billion in new investment in the last six years, with more than 4,000 jobs created." -- Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.

"Central Arkansas’ economy continues to recover, as can be seen in local economic statistics, but the recovery is still uneven across sectors and is moving forward in fits and starts among even the stronger areas. In my area of real estate, for instance, the big year-over-year improvements we saw in the spring have been pulled back somewhat by rising mortgage rates." -- Ward Davis, CEO of the Village at Hendrix in Conway. 

"I think the central Arkansas economy is in a slow recovery mode. We are not experiencing any particular type of robust growth but things have improved from the 2008–2012 era. If the Fed doesn’t tamper with its bond purchasing program, the housing market will continue to recover and perhaps local unemployment will improve ... we are in need of new, significant employers here." -- Jimmy Moses of Moses Tucker Realty of Little Rock.

"Local economy is 'squirrelly' amidst a very mild recovery. After a good start, the first of the year, this summer tanked and was hard on most restauranteurs and industry suppliers. Summer sales were down as much as 12–14 percent versus last year same period for some folks. Some of the individual decline could be due to an unusually large number of restaurants that opened all over town, but that would not account for the industry-wide drop in sales hitting our wholesale suppliers." -- Mark Abernathy, owner of Local Luna, Red Door restaurants. 



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