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Economy & Business

Yesterday

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart says it named John Furner as CEO of its Sam's Club stores to replace Rosalind Brewer, who is retiring next month.

Furner, who is 42, will head the membership-only warehouse chain next month. Furner has been Sam's Club's chief merchandising officer since October 2015. Wal-Mart says he first joined the company as an hourly store associate in 1993.

Brewer will leave her position February 1. The 54-year-old has been CEO of Sam's Club for five years and has had a variety of executive roles since joining the company about 11 years ago.

Gov. Hutchinson and Facebook Announce Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership

Jan 5, 2017
pixabay.com

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the details of an agreement with Facebook, Inc. to launch the company’s Techstart program in Arkansas high schools. The Arkansas & Facebook Techstart Partnership is a first-of-its-kind partnership with the social media giant. Under the agreement, Facebook will donate 500 Virtual Reality (VR) classroom kits, including computers, cameras and the Oculus Rift equipment necessary to administer the Techstart program.  

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas finance officials say higher than expected sales tax collections helped keep the state's revenue in December above forecast and last year's numbers. But Arkansas is still behind what was predicted so far for the fiscal year.
 

pixabay.com

A staggering amount of growth occurred last year in Jonesboro.  

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told members of the city council that over 180 million dollars in building permits approved by the city in 2016.  That is about 40 million dollars more than in 2015.  Perrin says well over half of that number is in residential permits, the rest are business permits.  He expects those numbers to continue to climb this year. 

Pixabay

The unemployment rate in Northeast Arkansas remains low.

The Jonesboro Sun reports, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday released its report of their most recent jobless rate data.

Employment in nonfarm jobs in the Jonesboro Metropolitan Area rose by about 1,300 with over 55,300 people employed since November 2015.  Last year, the sector saw an increase in November with around 56,800 residents employed, bringing the jobless rate in the area to 2.9%.

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) - The first phase of a makeover of a 5-mile stretch of highway in Branson could be finished by Memorial Day.

The Joplin Globe (http://bit.ly/2hLDtUI ) reports the construction aims to alleviate traffic congestion along West Highway 76 by creating a wider, continuous pedestrian walkway in the area, which includes Branson's entertainment district.

 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's outgoing Democratic governor says he's made plenty of "solid accomplishments" during his two terms as the chief executive.  In an interview with the Associated Press, Gov. Jay Nixon cites increased funding for education and mental health services and billions of spending cuts that have helped keep the budget in balance as tax revenues declined from a recession.  There also have been other events that have shaped Nixon's tenure. He's had to manage numerous natural disasters. Most notable was the 2011 Joplin tornado that killed 161 people.

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.

Pixabay

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.

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