Fort Smith Leads Arkansas Tech Business Index in October

Fort Smith Leads Arkansas Tech Business Index in October

Fort Smith remained atop the Arkansas Tech Business Index while Rogers and Russellville enjoyed the largest increases, according to economic activity from October.

For the seventh time in eight months, Fort Smith was the highest-rated city, posting a 107.42 rating in October. Meanwhile, Rogers jumped 3.74 points to 105.33, just behind Fort Smith. Russellville increased 1.47 points, but was still one of the lower-rated cities at 99.

The ATBI monitors economic activity in four areas — labor market, real estate, construction and retail — to give a snapshot of the economic health of 17 cities around the state. The index is based around 100. A city above that mark is performing better than the state average since 2009.

"The primary factor driving the strong index performance of Rogers is construction permits, especially commercial permits, which were $32 million in October," Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics at Arkansas Tech and developer of the ATBI, said in a news release. "Russellville saw increases in all four sectors covered in the index, all by moderate amounts, with the leader being the housing index at over a six-point rebound from a depressed September reading."

Following Fort Smith and Rogers in the top five was Fayetteville (104.97), Van Buren (103.96) and Springdale (103.45). In all, 10 cities had an index rating above 100, including Bentonville (102.74), Searcy (102.68), Conway (102.6), Jonesboro (100.79) and Hot Springs (100.44).

Little Rock was was the 12th-rated city at 97.33. It was followed by North Little Rock at 95.49. Pine Bluff was the lowest-rated city at 93.63.