Bentonville Remains Atop Arkansas Tech Business Index

by Lee Hogan  on Friday, May. 30, 2014 4:55 pm  

Once again, Bentonville remains atop the Arkansas Tech Business Index's ranking of 16 municipalities in Arkansas, according to data compiled for February.

The index, known as ATBI, ranks 16 cities in Arkansas based on economic activity. The index is based on 100. A city above that rating shows the city is doing better than the state average from 2009 to present. 

In February, 10 cities saw economic activity better than the state average, and eight cities improved their index value from results of January's data.

While Bentonville remained atop the index, its rating fell 1.02 points from 107.26 to 106.24.

Rogers, at 105.16; Fayetteville, 104.99; Springdale, 104.47; Fort Smith, 102.35; Conway, 101.62; Hot Springs, 101.41; North Little Rock, 101.29; Jonesboro, 101.20; and Russellville, 100.04, were the other cities with a rating above the state average.

Of the top-performing cities, Jonesboro, at 1.04 points, saw the largest jump from January to February. Fort Smith, 0.89 points; Russellville, 0.57 points; and Springdale, 0.18 points, were the only other cities above the state average to see an improvement from January to February.

North Little Rock at 1.11 points saw the sharpest decline of the top-performing cities in the February numbers. Elsewhere, Bentonville, 1.02 points, Conway, 0.87 points, Hot Springs, 0.85 points, Rogers, 0.62 points, and Fayetteville, 0.22 points, saw decreases as well.

Overall, Texarkana at 1.21 points had the biggest jump between January and February. However, it remained below the state average at 96.47. Searcy remained the lowest rated city at 87.38, although it improved 0.09 points from January. It was also the only city with a rating below 90.

Little Rock was the first city outside of the top-performers at 98.86. It's index rating fell 0.34 points from 99.20 in January.

January-February ATBI Ratings
City       January          February          Change
Bentonville       107.26         106.24         -1.02
Rogers       105.78         105.16         -0.62
Fayetteville       105.21         104.99         -0.22
Springdale       104.29         104.47         0.18
Fort Smith       101.46         102.35         0.89
Conway       102.49         101.62         -0.87
Hot Springs       102.26         101.41         -0.85
North Little Rock       102.40         101.29         -1.11
Jonesboro       100.16         101.20         1.04
Russellville       99.47         100.04         0.57
Little Rock       99.20         98.86         -0.34
El Dorado       96.65         96.55         -0.10
West Memphis       95.97         96.48         0.51
Texarkana       95.26         96.47         1.21
Pine Bluff       93.67         93.88         0.21
Searcy       87.29         87.38         0.09

Labor Market

Springdale led the ratings in labor market with a 111.04 rating. According to February numbers, the northwest Arkansas city employed 33,117 and had an unemployment rate of 5 percent, which was considerably lower than the state unemployment rate in February, 7.5 percent, and the national average, 7.7 percent. Overall, 1,761 of the 34,878-member, Springdale labor force were unemployed.

Of the top five labor markets, Springdale was the largest employer by nearly 15,000 workers. Bentonville, which was second, employed the second-most employees with 18,399.



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