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5 cities gain in economic index

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published July 21, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.

Five cities in Arkansas show an increase in economic performance in April, according to the Arkansas Tech Business Index.

Russellville, Little Rock, Jonesboro, El Dorado and North Little Rock saw increases in their values, the Russellville university's College of Business reports. The values reflect economic growth between March and April.

Russellville saw an increase of 0.83 points, raising their rating to 97.38; Little Rock rose 0.76 points to 99.24; Jonesboro gained 0.70 points to 100.83; El Dorado added 0.11 points to 93.79; and North Little Rock saw a 0.07-point gain, boosting their rating to 95.49, according to the report.

Jonesboro’s increase pushed them over the average Arkansas Tech Business rating of 100, showing that its economy is now above the state’s average economic performance. Currently seven out of 16 city economies are ranked above the state average.

Fort Smith, though it dropped 1.60 points from March to April, still holds the highest score of 106.99, reflecting the strongest city economy in Arkansas, according the index. Pine Bluff has the lowest score, with a 91.67 rating in April.

The Arkansas Tech Business Index was a student project under the direction of Marc Fusaro, an associate professor of economics. The index takes into account indexes for labor, housing, construction and retail sales.

“[The index] basically provides a snapshot of where the state economy is, at any given time,” Tech spokesman Sam Strasner said.

The project has only recently begun to release numbers, Strasner said, adding that Fusaro hopes to reduce reporting lag time as the process of collecting figures grows faster.

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