In the employment market Arkansas, when all of the adjustments are made, will have a net gain in employment. There have been periods of factory closing and announcements of new business moving to Arkansas or new companies being created. Governor Beebe and his staff have done a yeoman’s job at keeping the people of Arkansas employed and earning a reasonable paycheck. It is difficult to count the job increase because some are scheduled to occur at a later date, like the new foundry in northeast Arkansas or the new employer in Morrilton who is a IKEA supplier. Job losses are equally hard to figure out. While the big layoffs and plant closures are easy to track. In both areas it is the gain or loss of a small number. An example is that Edgar Jones employs 5 people; business is down and supplies are going up; in order to survive Mr. Jones decides to reduce is workforce by one. This is a 20% reduction in his workforce, but only one individual. This level of detail is hard to measure on a statewide basis. The opposite is also true. The economy is heating up and Mr. Jones needs to hire an additional individual. This is a 25% increase in his workforce and still only one individual.
Both state and local governments work hard at being precise, but the numbers can be misleading. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics or Arkansas Labor Force. In the case of the FBLS they report monthly and the ALF reports Quarterly. Generally they are reasonably close, But the comparison of the two may indicate a difference to 2% or 3% which drives the arguments between math lovers and just confuses the rest of use.
The best news is that as more people are employed the multiplier grows larger, and more taxes are raised without increasing the tax rate. We, the people, small and large business use that increase revenue to fund our vacations, a new house and or car, remodel our home or expand a small business, or build a new factory. The government spends it share in improving infrastructure, providing support for both small and large business in the form of grants or loan or reductions (tax advantages to entice new business to Arkansas. The State of Arkansas also provides a safety net for people in need, and has set aside funds for unforeseen issues. Governor Beebe recently released some of those funds to help offset the healthcare increase for teachers.
20113, when it is finally tallied up in February or March , should show that for employment in the state, opportunities that have been created will be a positive and will help us in 2014