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Fort Smith No. 1 in Arkansas Tech Business Index for September, 3Q

2 min read

Fort Smith returned to the top of the Arkansas Tech University Business Index in September, and also led the way in the third-quarter rankings.

It was the third quarter in a row that Fort Smith has led.

In all, ten of the 17 municipalities rated in the index, which monitors economic activity in the state, realized performance better than the state average since 2009. The index is based around 100, which signifies the state average since 2009.

Fort Smith (106.81) was followed by Fayetteville (105.51), Conway (103.98), Springdale (103.96) and Bentonville (103.52) in the third-quarter numbers.

Little Rock was the first city below the state average at 97.74. North Little Rock came in at 95.13 in the third quarter. Pine Bluff was the lowest-rated city at 92.26.

Conway saw the biggest increase between the start of the third quarter and the end, jumping 2.24 points from June to September.

“This strength comes largely from $60 million in commercial construction permits,” Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics and developer of the index, said in a news release. 

Conway Sees Biggest Increase From August to September

While Fort Smith led the September index at 106.59, Conway saw a 5.78-point jump, the largest one-month jump to September, to 106.40.

The two top cities were followed by Fayetteville (105.71), Bentonville (104.17) and Searcy (103.44). Ten cities saw economic performance above the state average, and 14 cities increased their index rating from August. One city that realized neither of those accomplishments was Little Rock.

The capital city dropped 4.21 points from August to 96.56 in September. 

The four separate indices that make up the ATBI — labor, housing and real estate, construction and retail — saw four different cities lead.

In the labor market index, Van Buren led at 109.05. It was followed by Springdale (106.46), Bentonville (106.22), Search (106.13) and North Little Rock (104.18). Nine cities had ratings above the state average. Little Rock was the second-lowest rated city at 95.74. 

In the housing and real estate index, Hot Springs led at 110.93. The Spa City was followed by Conway (109.09), Jonesboro (108.43), Fort Smith (106.87) and Searcy (106.28). Ten cities were above the state average. Little Rock came in at 97.36. 

In the construction index, Conway led with a 119.06 rating. It was followed by Bentonville (112.80), Jonesboro (108.23), Fayetteville (102.14) and West Memphis (101.75). El Dorado (100.21) was the only other city above the state average. Little Rock was the lowest-rated city at 89.57.

In the retail market, Fayetteville led at 118.92. It was followed by Fort Smith (117.57), Little Rock (108.40), Rogers (107.86) and Searcy (105.19). Eight cities were above the state average. The retail index was the only one in which Little Rock was above the state average.

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