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Federal government shutdown impacts Arkansas

The federal government shutdown had a major impact on Arkansas’ work force. From the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health, hundreds of state workers were furloughed as federal funding was put on hold. About 350 Little Rock Air Force Base civilians were placed on furlough, while the Arkansas National Guard halted certain operations impacting up to 10,000 guard members.

USA Truck rejects takeover bid

Van Buren-based USA Truck on Thursday rejected a $242 million buyout bid from Phoenix-based Knight Transportation Inc. The company’s board of directors turned down its second unsolicited bid in the last two years, but Knight has vowed to take the issue directly to shareholders.

Business Briefs — Arvest Bank, Simmons First bid for Metropolitan National

In surprise moves, Bentonville-based Arvest Bank and Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corp. submitted bids to acquire Little Rock-based Metropolitan National Bank, whose parent company, Rogers Bancshares Inc., is embroiled in a bankruptcy proceeding. Arvest's bid was announced in a legal notice in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for an undisclosed figure, while Simmons First disclosed a $16.9 million bid in a SEC filing.

Business Briefs — Arkansas, U.S. unemployment rates intersect at 7.4%

Arkansas' jobless rate rose one-tenth of a percent in July to 7.4 percent, while the U.S. unemployment rate fell two-tenths to 7.4 percent. It is the first time that state and national unemployment have intersected since April 2008 when both jobless rates stood at 5.0 percent. Since that month, the U.S. unemployment rate spiked to as high as 10 percent, while the state jobless rate climbed as high as 8.0 percent. During the recovery years since 2008-2009, Arkansas' unemployment rate remained lower than the national rate until now.