The Little Rock metropolitan statistical area saw its sharpest short-term job loss of modern history in April, with its service-oriented economy being especially vulnerable to the pandemic, a recent report by planning agency Metroplan shows.
The MSA lost more than 30,000 jobs, and local economic damage from the pandemic was less serious than the U.S. average but worse than the state average, according to the 2020 Metrotrends Demographic Review and Outlook
More: See the full report here.
In addition, while Arkansas experienced a relatively low infection rate in the early stages of March and April, conditions have worsened. During September and early October, the state regularly logged the highest death rates per 100,000 in the country. Also, mortality was generally higher in its rural portion than in metropolitan areas.
The report’s findings include:
Total retail sales remained solid, though selected segments like restaurants and hotels saw major job losses.
Local housing construction saw a downturn in February-June but was back to normal by July. Benton saw the biggest jump in single-family construction, followed by North Little Rock, Hot Springs Village and Bryant.
Total construction value in 2019 was $1.126 billion, the second-highest value recorded since 2007.
Local manufacturing, construction and freight transportation sectors have seen little disruption.
Amazon’s new $500,000 fulfillment center is the latest addition to the Port of Little Rock.
The report also looks at how the owners of Trio’s Restaurant and Loca Luna successfully managed coronavirus-related challenges, and how professionals at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Health are providing insights into the pandemic.