Arkansas’ jobless rate remained unchanged from October to November at 7.5 percent. The number is well above one year ago when the state unemployment rate stood at 7.2 percent. U.S. unemployment in November was 7 percent.
For the month, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services reported 1,226,200 workers were employed in the state. That was a 4,400 boost from one month ago, but still 25,400 fewer employed than a year ago.
NFIB ad targets Pryor on health law support
The National Federation of Independent Businesses has been targeting U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., throughout the holiday commercial season with an ad complaining about the new federal health care law, which Pryor supported. In the television ad, a Little Rock printing company executive says his insurance premiums are rising by 19 percent in 2014, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. As much as $500,000 may be spent airing the ad statewide.
Panel endorses grant for insurance exchange
A legislative oversight panel approved a $10.6 million federal grant to support the state’s insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act over some Republican objections. The Arkansas Legislative Council voted 21-18 to allow the money to be spent for continued operations, advertising and education programs. State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford said the grant will be used “to support Arkansans, to help them get through this very complicated process.”
NWA Council CEO touts downtown redevelopment strategy
Mike Malone, CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, says his group is dedicating resources to five cities in the region to help boost downtown redevelopment. The business council has hired consultant Daniel Hintz to work with the cities of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and Siloam Springs to create more effective downtown collaboration.
“We’ve had dramatic job growth in Northwest Arkansas and a lot of our employers are desperate for talent,” Malone said. “We’re working on some projects and initiatives that help ensure that Northwest Arkansas remains a great place to live and work so that we can retain talent and make it easier to recruit more talent. Downtowns are a key component of a vital community.”
Entergy Arkansas donation lights up downtown bridges
Over the holidays and in conjunction with its 100th anniversary, Entergy Arkansas donated $2.4 million to light three bridges in downtown Little Rock across the Arkansas River. The Junction, Clinton and Main Street bridges will operate with a light display every day and a special show on the weekends. The effort is expected to draw more residents and visitors to the downtown area.
CAPROCQ Core Real Estate Fund garners $56 million in new equity
Nearly one year ago and with an initial $50 million capitalization, a group of Arkansas real estate leaders formed a new private investment fund focused on acquiring assets throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions of the country. Arkansas-based CapRocq Core Real Estate Fund announced in late December its final closing with over $56 million in equity raised. Since its inception in December 2012, the fund has acquired over $100 million in assets. The founders of the fund include Franklin McLarty, Dewitt Smith, Kevin Huchingson and Ted Dickey.