KASU

Economy & Business

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.

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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.

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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.

Low-wage workers and local leaders are continuing to push for an increase to the minimum wage in Arkansas.

Local protests for a $15 an hour minimum wage were first seen in late 2014 outside fast food restaurants in central Arkansas. Those efforts were part of a nationwide movement known as Fight for 15.

In this election year organizers took their protest to the steps of the state Capitol. Jay Harris, a member of Fight for 15, said there are many reasons for supporting an increased minimum wage.

Jonesboro and Craighead County sales tax receipts up more than 5% year-to-date

Sep 7, 2016
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Jonesboro has collected $11.6 million in city sales and use tax in the first seven months of 2016, up 5.1% over the same period in 2015, according to the city. Craighead County sales tax collections totaled $12.8 million in sales and use taxes, up 5.2%, or $639,000, from the same period in 2015, according to the county.

Bank announces 5-level, 60,000 square foot building in Jonesboro

Sep 6, 2016
First National Bank

First National Bank announces site construction on First National Financial Park at 3500 E. Johnson Avenue in Jonesboro. The new five story 60,000 square ft. facility will become the region’s largest and most unique financial institution and lead office for FNB’s Craighead County operation.

Unlike any facility of its kind, First National Financial Park was designed and targeted for the community. The building will feature a community room on the first level and an outdoor terrace.

Public events will be welcomed and encouraged.

Arkansas State University

  

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The City of Jonesboro’s Finance and Administration Committee meets this afternoon to discuss the future of the city’s salary structure for all departments.  Last night, the full city council heard a comprehensive breakdown of how the city has provided raises and incentives for employees. 

In 2009, the city hired the Johanson DB Squared firm to revise the city’s classification and compensation system.  The goal of the plan was to bring all employees to a market average in pay. 

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    An expansion of a railcar plant in Paragould will bring dozens of new jobs to the town.  The Arkansas Economic Development Commission joined Governor Asa Hutchinson and local officials for the $3.5 million dollar announcement.  67 new jobs with an average salary of $45,000 were announced at the site of the American Railcar Industries-Corbitt site on Jones Road.  Mike Preston is Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

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Groundbreaking took place Tuesday for one of two convention centers and hotels that are planned to open in Jonesboro.  The Keller Family Hotel and Convention Center project broke ground Tuesday.  It will be located along Browns Lane Access Road near I-555.  The project will consist of a 159-bed Hyatt Place Hotel and a convention center.  Plans are ongoing for the Red Wolf Hotel and Convention Center, which will consist of a 200-room Embassy Suites hotel, a convention center, and a restaurant.  That project is headed by O’Reilly Hospitality Management and it will be located near where the f

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Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin and the city’s Parks and Recreation Director Wixson Huffstetler are looking at placing a new aquatic center in Jonesboro.  City officials plan to visit Bentonville, Tupelo and Tunica, Mississippi as early as next week in looking at other water parks.

According to a press release, Perrin is looking at building an Olympic-size pool, a therapy pool with zero-depth entry, and an indoor splash pad.  The goal would be to provide citizens with places to swim for recreation, as well as to hold swim meets at the pool. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

   Two projects 25 years in the making were dedicated Thursday.  Highway 67/167 now is a four lane highway that stretches from Little Rock to Walnut Ridge.  Also, a four-lane connector from Jonesboro to Highway 67 has also opened.  The Highway 226 connector provides four-lane access to Highway 67/167.  Director of the State Highway and Transportation Department Scott Bennett says the dedications were not only big for Northeast Arkansas, but for the entire state as well.

Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce targets specific sectors to lure job creators

Aug 3, 2016
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The Jonesboro metro area has enjoyed historically low unemployment during the last two years, but city leaders knew wage stagnation was a problem, and there was a need to be proactive in creating new job opportunities.

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