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Kathy Deck: 2015 To Be A ...
Kathy Deck: 2015 To Be A Transformative Year for Arkansas Economy - Innovate Arkansas
: 2015 To Be A Transformative Year for Arkansas Economy
Arkansas' economy is clawing back to its pre-recession level, and Kathy Deck
believes 2015 will be a year of transition.
Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, gave the state forecast at the 21st annual Business Forecast Luncheon on Friday at the Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.
said Arkansas' employment growth has lagged the nation's rate, but she
predicts the state will hit its previous employment highs by the end of the year.
said Arkansas has seen strength in certain regions such as Jonesboro and northwest Arkansas.
Jonesboro's job growth continues to be "great success story" outside of northwest Arkansas, while central Arkansas has seen modest growth.
In northwest Arkansas, unemployment is 3.9 percent, a low rate tempered by a drop in the overall labor force.
largest job market is in the trade-transportation-utilities sector, which makes up 22 percent of the region but lost 1,600 jobs in 2014.
thinks those numbers may improve as new data comes in.
said workforce is an overriding concern of educational institutions and employers.
said when she
tours the state and speaks with business leaders, she
hears the same complaint - they can't find workers with the required skills.
said one solution is to pay workers more.
acknowledged that there needs to be a meeting of the two camps to improve workers' skills and their pay.
said Arkansas still lags the national average in per capita income but is making progress.
"We do see increased activity across the state in all those kinds of construction," said Deck
, referring to single-family, multifamily and commercial construction.
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That same question has been raised by several Arkansas economists over the past 12 months, including University of Arkansas economist Kathy Deck.
The director of the university's Center for Business and Economic raised a note of caution in January when state labor numbers showed more rural counties of the state were experiencing employment downturns more severe than those that took place during the recent recession.
According to the state Department of Workforce Services, nearly all of Arkansas' workforce investment areas saw decreasing populations in 2013.
That resulted in the state's labor force and employment decreasing between 2012 and 2013, at 18,100 and 17,600 respectively.
"I know labor force participation rate in Arkansas is a little lower because of demographics - in the sense that the population is a little older than in older states.
That is why there is a steeper decline here relative to the rest of the nation," he said.
On the positive side, however, the shrinking labor market has not equated to less worker productivity.
Total prices are up 8.7% year-over-year, while the square-foot price rose 9.5% from a year ago.
Prices are going in the right direction, but they have not fully recovered to the peak year values, according to Kathy Deck, director for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas.
said prices are still anywhere from 5% to 10% below peak levels hit nearly a decade ago.
"What we have is a balanced market, even in light of all the new construction going up in the past year or so.
Kathy Deck is director of ...
Kathy Deck is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
higher average wages are because of the industrial mix of jobs in the area," she
"Industries there have to pay higher rates to be able to afford the specific workers they need."
The city's average hourly income is a good thing for the present, but Deck
said it could be an issue for future growth.
When an industry considers moving to a town, she
said, it will search for a location with a deep labor pool and cost competitiveness.
Future industries may not want to pay higher wages.
The Pine Bluff MSA
had 33,170 people in its workforce in May 2013, less than the other Arkansas MSA's included in the bureau's statistics.
cited not only Pine Bluff's low population, but also the characteristics of the city's population as influences on Pine Bluff's average hourly wages.
"The population in Pine Bluff
is older than the other metropolitan areas," she
With Arkansas trailing the national average for hourly wages, Deck
said it's encouraging that the state has a low cost of living.
"We can have lower wages because it costs less to live here, but we still have a good standard of living" she
"The multifamily market continues to be ...
"The multifamily market continues to be very tight in Northwest Arkansas and that will continue until new units are added across the region," said Kathy Deck, lead researcher for the Skyline Report at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
"A tight market presents opportunities for developers across the communities of the region and we expect to see continuing announcements of additional units in the coming months."
While the new student-driven multifamily complexes added to Fayetteville's available supply of large-scale multifamily housing, the rise in Bentonville's vacancy rate seems to be localized primarily in the complexes near the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Deck
Positive absorption of existing space continues to bring down vacancy rates in the commercial real estate market in Northwest Arkansas, Deck
said, although there remains a great deal of unoccupied space that is not generating income for owners.
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce News Newswire
We also know there are many Northwest Arkansas companies that will be adding jobs in 2014.”
Kathy Deck, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, said the employment growth in Northwest Arkansas is broad-based. “All of our employment sectors are showing year-over-year growth,” Deck said. “That kind of positive environment means that new and existing companies have enormous opportunities to thrive because of a strong regional customer base and increasing incomes.”
Jonesboro also ranked among the nation’s top growth places.