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NW Arkansas keeps lowest jobless rate

Northwest Arkansas' unemployment rate was 2.5 percent in November -- the lowest rate in the state and the same rate for the fourth-consecutive month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

Northwest Arkansas also had an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent in November 2017.

The overall Arkansas unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in November. Nationally, the rate was 3.7 percent.

The only other metropolitan area in the state with an unemployment rate below 3 percent was Jonesboro, which had a rate of 2.8 percent in November, the same rate for the third-straight month.

Jonesboro's rate in November 2017 was 2.8 percent.

Other November unemployment rates in Arkansas metropolitan areas compared with November 2017 were Little Rock, 3.0 percent, up from 2.9 percent; Fort Smith, 3.4 percent, down from 3.9 percent; Hot Springs, 3.9 percent, up from 3.6 percent; Texarkana, 4.7 percent, up from 4.0 percent, and Pine Bluff, 4.8 percent, up from 4.4 percent.

-- David Smith

LR church planning facility in ex-Kroger

The former Kroger grocery store at 315 N. Shackleford Road in Little Rock that has sat vacant nearly four years will become a multi-use "South Campus" for the adjacent Immanuel Baptist Church.

The church at 501 N. Shackleford Road purchased the property for $3.65 million in August 2015, seven months after the chain closed the store, which had operated at the site for 31 years. At the time, church officials had no definitive plans for the property.

Immanuel's plans now call for the 47,000-square-foot building on 4.8 acres to include an 800-seat auditorium to be used for classrooms and conferences, a food pantry that will be open once a week and a dental clinic that will offer services monthly, according to city planning documents. The church also will use it on Sundays.

City planning staff supported the church's proposal, called it a "quality redevelopment for this commercial property" that is appropriate for the site and compatible with other uses in the area.

The Little Rock Planning Commission approved the proposal Thursday and also approved a 21,500-square-foot addition to its main church building. The plans also include additional parking.

-- Noel Oman

State index stocks all rise, hit 375.64

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, rose 7.41 to 375.64 Friday.

All 15 stocks gained ground.

ArcBest rose 5.6 percent and Uniti Group rose 5.4 percent in average trading.

The average daily volume for the week was 20.6 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 01/05/2019

Print Headline: News in brief

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