Uneven economic growth and a dwindling Arkansas workforce continue to affect Arkansas jobs. The current unemployment rate is 3.8 percent and is predicted to rise to 4 percent. Despite these trends, job growth, although slow, is expected to continue based on the increase in available jobs and out-of-state job seekers.
Arkansass job growth will be led by employment growth in manufacturing and construction, as well as service-oriented employment sectors. A boost in salaries and wages should also stimulate more employment growth; however, inflation will offset these strides in many ways. Much of the strain on the economy is in part a result of previously stagnant wages and inconsistent job growth.
On the upside, much of Arkansas's job growth can be seen in the northwest. An increase in Arkansas jobs, as well as an increase in the workforce, has set record rates in the northwestern parts of the state. Major companies such as Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Tyson Foods help keep the economy afloat. In addition, healthcare, professional and business services sectors of employment continue to help the economy and provide employment for job seekers.
Arkansas is showing signs of economic growth; however, progress is slow and strained. New federal tax laws are predicted to create a strain on employment based on labor-saving technologies that would reduce the need for more employees in certain sectors. With this being said, Arkansas's economy may fall flat creating continued uneven job availability statewide. This translates into more job growth in the northwestern parts of the state, with diminishing employment opportunities in other parts of the state.
Arkansas's economy has struggled with inconsistent trends in the job market and a dwindling workforce. The unemployment rate is expected to rise as a result of the unevenness of the economy and the lack of jobs in certain parts of the state. Service-oriented employment sectors will help fuel the economy as well as big-box retailers like Walmart, in addition to others. However, Arkansas still continues to waver in an economy that is underperforming compared to other states, which will carry on affecting the workforce.