Kathy Deck: No Quick Turnaround for Employment in Arkansas

by Marty Cook  on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 2:50 pm  

Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. (Photo by Beth Hall)

"We still have a bunch of sectors, important sectors to us, that are not growing," Deck said. "We still see manufacturing not keeping pace, and when we see a big sector like that not keeping pace it does hold back our overall success."

The job force numbers were disconcerting because they mean more people have stopped looking for work, Deck said.

"The whole story is about the labor force," Deck said. "It tells a dreadful story."

Deck did have good news. Northwest Arkansas' job growth was 4.3 percent, Jonesboro was "on fire" and the Little Rock metro reached its pre-recession level of employment, which Deck called the "positive story of the year."

Pine Bluff continued its long decline and the poor outlook in the state's rural areas helped restrain Arkansas' recovery and immediate prospects for improvement.

"Today I have the good news for northwest Arkansas," Deck said. "I'm a little more worried about Arkansas. Just as much growth we've seen in the metropolitan areas have been more than offset by the rural areas. They haven't seen anything like a recovery from the recession."



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