Little Rock Ranks 9th of 14 on Economic Report Card

Little Rock Ranks 9th of 14 on Economic Report Card

The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked ninth out of 14 MSAs in the region in economic health, according to the Fourth Annual Metropolitan Little Rock Economic Report Card.

The report was compiled by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and released via webinar on Thursday. 

The other MSAs researched are located in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

According the report, the Little Rock MSA excelled the most at:

  • High education levels and access to STEM jobs.
  • Growth in business establishments per 1,000 employees.
  • Occupational specialization.
  • Housing affordability.
  • Health care access.
  • Having below average poverty rates.

But indicators that hurt its score the most were a:

  • High crime rate.
  • Low number of professional and tech service jobs.
  • Low employment specialization.
  • Low ratio of small and large business establishments.
  • Low per capita personal income growth.
  • Low employment growth rates.

The Little Rock MSA was ranked No. 10 in UA Little Rock’s 2013 report, and No. 9 in 2014. The 2015 report card was judged differently, and the result was recorded as “above average” then.

Also, the Little Rock MSA was sixth in economic performance, quality of life and knowledge-based indicators.

It was eighth in structure indicators and weakest in entrepreneurship and innovation indicators, where it was ranked 12th out of 14th.

Austin ranked No. 1 in this year’s report card. Oklahoma City came in second and Kansas City, Missouri, came in third.