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economy

Economy
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Despite slow growth in the beginning of 2017, the economy is expected to be stronger for states in the Mid-West and Plains, which includes Arkansas and Missouri.  That's according to a recent Creighton University economy report

One person in Arkansas has been paying close attention to the state's economy—the Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Mike Preston. 

The federal agency tasked with economic development in the Delta is without a leader. It’s up to President Donald Trump to appoint a new federal co-chairman for the Delta Regional Authority. The DRA’s supporters are hoping for the President to act quickly so that tens of millions of dollars can be freed up for investment. But the Trump’s budget proposals have called for eliminating the authority entirely.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business leaders suggests that business conditions worsened last month but that the economy will pick up over the next few months in nine Midwestern and Plains states, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 56.1 in July after reaching 62.3 in June. The May figure was 55.5.

Little Rock's annual music festival, Riverfest, is suspending operations after four decades.

The Riverfest, Inc., board of directors announced Tuesday that 2017 was the last year for the music festival in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. The festival's executive director, DeAnna Korte, says rising costs and more competition from other festivals made it difficult for Riverfest to continue.

Korte says hot and rainy weather in May and June also affected Riverfest's ability to be successful.

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — A group from Little Rock is acquiring the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs for an undisclosed amount of money.

The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record newspaper reported Monday (http://bit.ly/2ubw3EX) that Sky Capital Group LP is buying the state's largest hotel from Southwest Hotels Inc., which has operated the hotel since 1954.

The Arlington Hotel has 478 rooms, along with a spa, a bathhouse, a convention center, ballroom and a lobby bar. Sky Capital also operates the Four Points Sheraton in Little Rock.

Local leaders are scrambling for solutions in the wake of a mass shooting at a Little Rock night club earlier this month. The Pulaski County Quorum Courts is considering during Tuesday’s meeting on a resoultion encouraging cities to place a 180 day moratorium on musical performances deemed to encourage violence.

Low unemployment, affordable housing, strong healthcare access and below-average poverty rates are the positives in the Little Rock Metropolitan area. Some negatives: a high crime rate, fewer professional and technical jobs than other cities, low employment specialization, and slow growth in the ratio of large to small businesses. That’s according to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas Economic Development Institute’s fourth annual Little Rock Metro Report Card, released Thursday.

Arkansas finance officials say the state ended its fiscal year with a $15.7 million surplus after a boost in sales tax collections over the past two months helped restore most of the budget cuts enacted earlier.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state ended the fiscal year with $5.3 billion in net available revenue, which was $19 million below the previous fiscal year. Arkansas' fiscal year ended Friday.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam is headed to Europe next week to try to recruit more foreign investment in Tennessee.

Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe plant to visit the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Germany. They are scheduled to leave on Monday and return June 30.

More than 500 European businesses operate in Tennessee, employing about 62,000 people. More than $3.8 billion has been invested in the state by European companies since 2011.

In the midst of an overseas trade mission, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke to reporters Wednesday about his meetings with industry leaders in Germany and France. Via teleconference from Frankfurt, Germany, Hutchinson said he’s trying to quell anxiety among European business leaders who are concerned about the anti-globalist rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

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Several businesses are in talks with Walnut Ridge officials about possibly building in the town…this only a month after U-S Senator John Boozman announced that U-S Highway 67/167 now has a “Future I-57” designation.  

Talk Business and Politics

A split Jonesboro City Council did not pass an ordinance that would have allowed for a large apartment complex to be built on South Caraway Road in Jonesboro.  The vote was 6 voting for the project and 5 against the project...the ordiance needed 7 votes.  Alderman Chris Gibson was absent for the meeting.  The complex would have established 300 multi-family units.  The property is currently zoned for commercial property and the request was for the area to be rezoned for residential property.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission meeting veterans might have looked around the board room inside the Alcohol Beverage Control Division last week and wondered where the dreamers went. Gone were the cowboy boots and branded T's, the men (some women, not many) who clearly are interested in marijuana and, if given the chance, the business of growing it and selling it — legally. They were replaced by lawyers and other men and women in suits.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials say that nearly all state tax refunds should be delivered by June 30.

The Missouri Department of Revenue said Thursday the only unpaid returns should be those that were flagged for various reasons.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas will soon begin taking applications from those who hope to grow and dispense medical marijuana, though the state's strong religious heritage and restrictions imposed by the Legislature will limit where greenhouses and distributors can operate.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's recent special legislative session cost taxpayers more than $66,000.

Gov. Eric Greitens called lawmakers into special session to authorize discounted electricity rates for a steel-works facility and aluminum smelter that are considering opening near the southeastern Missouri town of New Madrid.

Lawmakers passed the legislation in one week, and tried to hold down costs by coming to the Capitol in Jefferson City only on the days when votes were scheduled.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business supply managers suggests a slight decline in the economic conditions for nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report released Thursday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report said the overall regional economic index dropped to 55.5 in May from 61.4 in April. The March figure was 60.1.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor, while a score below that suggests decline.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Kellogg Co. says it plans to shut down a distribution plant in Memphis and lay off 172 workers.

The company said Tuesday in a letter to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the Memphis plant will close by the end of July.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company has said it would close 39 distribution facilities across the country, affecting more than 1,000 workers. The company says it is changing how it ships products.

Originally a cereal maker, Kellogg's also makes Eggo frozen waffles, Pop-Tarts and Pringles.

Talk Business and Politics

Jonesboro’s economic growth stumbled in recent months as sales and use receipts and building permit values declined. At least one of those indicators is on the rise again.

Northeast Arkansas’ hub city collected $1.48 million in sales tax in May, a 1.54% increase from the same month in 2016, according to city info.

Rural Arkansas has so much to offer in terms of picturesque surroundings and low cost of living that it should be marketed as the newest retirement hot spot, according to participants of the 2017 Rural Development Conference in Hot Springs this week.

Community leaders gathered at the Convention Center to discuss the quality of life issues for rural residents, such as internet access, better-paying jobs and healthcare.

Despite the perception that health care appointments are hard to come by in rural Arkansas, county judge John Thomison said Lawrence County fares pretty well for medical care.

Pixabay

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ameren Missouri customers wouldn't likely see a significant increase in their monthly electricity bills under a proposal allowing manufacturers that use a lot of electricity to negotiate lower rates, according to a Missouri Public Service Commission staff analysis presented to a Senate committee Thursday.

Delta Regional Authority

Art and culture have always been a way of life in eastern Arkansas and now at least one organization thinks both can become economic drivers in the region.

Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Agriculture Could Have Dramatic Impact On Arkansas

May 25, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget includes deep cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture, and Arkansas farmers could feel the squeeze.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House on Wednesday advanced a bill that would allow manufacturing companies to negotiate lower electricity rates than currently allowed, a measure supporters say could bring hundreds of jobs to the southeastern corner of the state but critics argue would raise rates for utilities customers.

By JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Solid hiring nationwide led unemployment rates to touch record lows in three U.S. states last month.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates declined in 10 states in April, increased in one — Massachusetts — and held relatively stable in the other 39. A significant number of the job gains occurred in nine states, led by Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana was the only state to see a significant decrease in jobs last month.

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