State's Job Growth Index Slipping, Report Says

The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group projects projected declining job growth for Arkansas throughout 2012.

The group surveys supply managers and business leaders in the nine-state Midwest region that includes Arkansas. Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss oversees the report.

Its overall index ranges from 0 to 100. Neutral growth would rate a 50. Any score above 50 suggests growth in a factor while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor over the next three to six months.

The report said Arkansas' overall index has slipped to 49.6 from August's 51.2. Components of the index were new orders at 43.5, production or sales at 49.6, delivery lead time at 50.3, inventories at 50.5, and employment at 54.

"Job growth in the state has slipped over the past several months. Our recent surveys indicate that the Arkansas' job growth will continue to decline for the final quarter of the year with no new net job gains," Goss told the Associated Press. "Job gains for durable goods producers will be offset by losses for nondurable goods manufacturers. The 2012 drought will continue to restrain retail sales in the state."

The state recently released its August unemployment numbers, with the jobless rate holding steady at 7.3 percent.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)