Report: Arkansas' Manufacturing Employment Down Third Year in a Row

For the third year in a row, manufacturing employment was down in Arkansas.

The numbers were released Thursday in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ “Burgundy Book” report.

More: Report: Some See Economic Improvement in Arkansas in 2014; Most Expect No Change

Arkansas’ manufacturing employment dropped 0.2 percent compared to a year ago.

Little Rock saw a 0.3 percent decline, while Fayetteville saw a 0.6 percent increase. Across the country, manufacturing employment was up 0.7 percent.

Totals showed manufacturing exports down 13.9 percent in the final quarter of 2013 the Little Rock Zone, which includes all of Arkansas except the northeast region.

Durable goods was the only area of manufacturing to see an increase, 2.1 percent, in the last quarter of 2013 in Arkansas. That’s compared to a 1.1 percent increase across the country. 

Nondurable goods were down 2.4 percent in Arkansas, while the U.S. saw no change. The drop in nondurable goods was attributed to the sector’s continual contracting, which drove overall employment growth into the negative, the report said.

One central Arkansas manufacturer said companies were expected to see good first and second quarters in 2014 with numbers down in the second half of they year due to an oversupply, the report said. 

Northeast Arkansas manufacturing numbers were not included in the Memphis Zone report — which covers northeast Arkansas, west Tennessee and north Mississippi — but one eastern Arkansas banker said in the report that area manufacturers saw a growth of about 4 to 4.5 percent in sales growth and were optimistic those numbers would maintained in 2014.