Fort Smith stays on top, PB on bottom of Business Index

FORT SMITH — Fort Smith remained on top of the Arkansas Tech Business Index for May, while Pine Bluff remained at the bottom of the list despite showing an increase in its score.

Eleven of the 16 municipalities listed on the index saw their Arkansas Tech Business Index value increase from April to May 2014, according to a news release from Arkansas Tech. West Memphis (+2.91 points) made the biggest move forward.

Fort Smith has the highest ATBI value for a third consecutive month (109.70) after its index value increased by 2.77 points in May. The index is based around 100. A city reading above 100 indicates that the city is currently doing better than the state average from 2009 to the present.

Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics at Arkansas Tech University and developer of the ATBI, noted that the housing sector was the primary factor for the increase in West Memphis’ index value from 92.40 to 95.31.

“Their home sales were strong,” Fusaro stated in the release. “In addition to more houses being sold than usual (in West Memphis), larger houses were sold in May. The average home sale price rose from $92,000 in April to over $138,000 in May.”

In addition to Fort Smith, other municipalities with an index rating above 100 following the compilation of data for the month of May include Bentonville (104.30; +1.28), Springdale (104.19; +0.21) Rogers (103.67; -0.78), Fayetteville (103.61; -1.27), Conway (103.14; +1.02), Jonesboro (101.57; +0.68) and Searcy (101.39; +1.46).

The remainder of the ATBI is comprised by Hot Springs (99.56; +0.01), Little Rock (98.48; -0.59), Russellville (97.02; -0.44), North Little Rock (96.10; +0.41), Texarkana (93.11; +0.75), El Dorado (93.02; -0.89) and Pine Bluff (92.44; +0.89).

Created by the Arkansas Tech University College of Business, the ATBI is a comprehensive measure that provides a snapshot of economic activity around the state. It encompasses a labor index, housing market index, construction index and retail sales index, the release states.

Arvest Bank is the presenting sponsor of the index. To access the data used to develop the ATIB, visit