KASU

Economy & Business

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon set an aggressive agenda to attract jobs after the Great Recession.

An Associated Press analysis shows the Democratic governor promoted business deals projected to cumulatively create about 48,000 jobs in exchange for up to $2 billion of state incentives.

As Nixon prepares to leave office Jan. 9, those businesses have reported hiring a little over 21,000 employees. The state so far has paid about $166 million of incentives to those firms.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Soaring numbers in a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest economic conditions are improving in nine Midwest and Plains states.

Talk Business & Politics

Some Arkansas workers will get a 50 cent boost in pay on New Year’s Day when the state’s minimum wage will rise from $8 to $8.50, Arkansas Department of Labor officials said Wednesday (Dec. 28).

“This is the final increment of the (Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative) that was passed by voters in 2014,” said Rosalyn Miller, public relations officer of the state Department of Labor.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) — Production is beginning at a new, $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Big River Steel has begun operations in its melt shop and hot mill at the new facility in Mississippi County. The steel mill was the first "superproject" to be approved under a 2004 state constitutional amendment that allows the state to borrow money to help lure major employers.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas-based Simmons First National Corp. has announced plans to buy an Oklahoma bank in a deal valued at more than $564 million.

Simmons, which is based in Pine Bluff, announced Wednesday that it would purchase Southwest Bancorp, Inc. of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Southwest Bancorp is the parent company of Bank SNB, which has 31 branches in four states.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri labor union leader is proposing to take the battle over so-called right-to-work laws to a vote of the people.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis has filed several versions of an initiative petition with the secretary of state's office that would ask voters to amend the constitution to ensure union negotiating rights.

Louis concedes that the Republican-led Legislature and incoming Republican Gov. Eric Greitens are likely to enact a right-to-work law during the 2017 session that prohibits mandatory union fees in workplaces.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jobs are on the rise and unemployment continues to decline in Missouri.

The state Department of Economic Development on Tuesday announced seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1,900 jobs in November.

Jobs again hit a record high, with a total of more than 2.8 million in the state. The state gained about 57,000 jobs in the past year, which is a growth of a little more than 2 percent.

The most job growth last month occurred in the accommodation and food services industry.

Wikipedia

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Monsanto Co. shareholders on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $57 billion merger with Bayer AG, a deal that would combine two of the world's biggest agricultural companies.

Preliminary results showed that 99 percent of all votes cast favored the merger announced in September, St. Louis-based Monsanto said. Shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash at the closing of the merger, which must still receive regulatory approval. Monsanto said the deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.

Monsanto shares rose 32 cents to $104.91 in midday trading.

Delta Regional Authority

Workers and businesses across the greater Memphis area will receive a major investment into the creation of good-paying manufacturing jobs – to the tune of more than $350,000 – Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced Wednesday.

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A locally-based technology company specializing in solutions for correctional facilities is moving into the former location of Hays Clothing Store in Jonesboro.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is using the current salary threshold in determining who is eligible for overtime.  Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Lori Winn says last week’s preliminary injunction from a federal court is what is behind the move. 

The new Fair Labor Standards Act, which would have been enacted this week, would require that salaried employees making under 47-thousand dollars would be eligible for overtime.  The new rules would have required those employees to clock in and clock out of a new Time Tracker System. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson is continuing his push to find so-called efficiencies in state government with a pair of re-organizing proposals for the legislative session beginning in January. At a press conference on Monday, the Republican governor announced he wants to move the Office of Energy from the state Economic Development Commission to the Department of Environmental Quality and to reduce the number of Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committees from 28 to eight.

Hutchinson said moving the Office of Energy out of AEDC is a move for “mission alignment.”

Tyson Foods ended its fiscal year with net income of $1.768 billion, 45% more than the previous fiscal year, thanks in part to lower grain costs, better margins in the chicken segment and continued success with its prepared foods business.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University may not have a polling site for the mid-term elections.  Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday says a lack of a road near the Military Science Building, and lack of parking, made it difficult for voters to cast their ballots.  

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

  

The City of Jonesboro and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are looking at a partnership to build a multi-million dollar shooting sports complex in Jonesboro.  The complex would cost anywhere between seven million and 12 million dollars and a groundbreaking could take place sometime next year.  Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot was at an open house forum last night where the public got to view plans about the center.  Elliot tells KASU news what the new complex will have in it.

Arkansas’s unemployment rate is up, though not by very much. The state also still rests below the national average in the September report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

After three months of flat unemployment numbers Arkansas’s rate ticked up from 3.9 percent in August to 4 percent in September. 

The second quarter economic story of Arkansas’ four key metro areas was much like the first quarter story: unchanged from the previous quarter, but healthy, with continued job gains and sales tax revenue growth, according to The Compass Report.

Arkansas State University

The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza is celebrating its 10th anniversary on October 6th.  KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves talks with director Linda Hinton about the history of the museum and the events taking place this week.   

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Tyson Foods is recalling over 132 thousand pounds of fully cooked chicken nuggets that may be contaminated with hard plastic.  According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Panko Chicken Nuggets were produced July 18th.  The packages of chicken nuggets being recalled are a five-pound bag of Tyson’s fully cooked Panko chicken nuggets and the 20-pound bags of Spare Time fully cooked Panko chicken nuggets.  The problem was discovered after complaints were reported to the USDA. There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the nuggets.

For the third straight month Arkansas’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 3.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August report. It is a full point below an also flat nationwide unemployment rate.

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This announcement from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development:

Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced that it is adding an additional cold mill at its Nucor Steel Arkansas division. The specialty cold mill complex will expand Nucor’s capability to produce advanced high-strength, high-strength low-alloy, and motor lamination steel products. The mill will cost an estimated $230 million to build and is expected to be operational in approximately two years.

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This press release comes from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission: 

Intimidator Inc., a manufacturer of 4x4 utility vehicles and zero turn mowers, today announced they are expanding their current manufacturing facility in Batesville and building a second facility in the Independence County Industrial Park. The company will invest $12 million in facilities and equipment while adding 400 new full-time employees over four years.

Pixabay

Pool hall owner Jack Allison saw a peculiar aircraft in flight over his hometown late night Sept. 18, 1964. It was large, and as he spied it from the pool hall parking lot, it was clear to him the plane was headed to the Walnut Ridge Airport.

Allison instructed three teenage boys to investigate it. When they arrived at the runway, the plane door opened and immortals strolled onto the tarmac. It was the only time the Beatles – George, John, Paul, and Ringo – ever set foot in the Natural State as a group.

Wikimedia

Frito-Lay is planning another expansion of their Jonesboro plant and has asked the city for financial help. 

Jonesboro building permit values up 43% through first seven months

Sep 15, 2016
Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Jonesboro building permit values totaled $122 million for the first seven months of 2016, up an impressive 43% compared to the same period in 2015. The increase was largely fueled by expansions at Frito Lay and St. Bernards Healthcare.

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