Arkansas unemployment climbs higher in October


Arkansas’ October jobless rate rose one-tenth of a point to 7.2% as the number of unemployed workers grew by an estimated 4,700. U.S. unemployment in October was 7.9%. One year ago, Arkansas unemployment stood at 8%.

October marked the 45th consecutive month that the state’s jobless rate hovered above 7%. Total employment in Arkansas stood at 1,273,800 in October up by 10,300 from the previous year.

Tyson Foods profits double

in quarter, slide for year

Meat giant Tyson Foods saw its profits double in the fourth quarter despite a small slip in overall sales. The Springdale-based chicken, pork and beef processor reported quarterly net income of $185 million, up from $97 million ayear ago. Revenues were down for the quarter to $8.37 billion compared to $8.40 billion in the previous year.

For its full fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 29, 2012, Tyson Foods profits cleared $583 million on revenues of $33.28 billion. One year ago, Tyson Foods reported net income of $750 million on sales of $32.27 billion.

More options for

customers ding Car-Mart’s second quarter

A tough quarter of sales pushed profits lower for America’s Car-Mart. The Bentonville-based used car dealer posted net income of $7.28 million on revenue of $110,219. One year ago, Car-Mart recorded net income of $7.76 million on sales of $110,807.

“While we are facing some near-term revenue challenges, we are convinced that the direction we are going will provide significant profitable long-term opportunities for America’s Car-Mart. We are confident that our business model is strong and our growth opportunities are outstanding,” said America’s Car-Mart CEO William H. “Hank” Henderson.

Expansion of corruption

probe investigation noted

in Wal-Mart report

An item tucked inside Wal-Mart’s routine quarterly earnings report noted that an investigation of corruption practices once limited to the company’s Mexican operations has been expanded.

“Inquiries or investigations regarding allegations of potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations have been commenced in a number of foreign markets where we operate, including but not limited to Brazil, China and India,” Wal-Mart said in a statement in its earnings report.

Arkansas policy foundation renews tax cut call

The Arkansas Policy Foundation (APF) is renewing its call for tax cuts that could reduce state collections by $88.5 million.

The APF proposed cutting the individual income tax rate from 7% to 6.75%, which would reduce state revenues by an estimated $45 million. Reducing the sales tax on groceries by a half-percent would reduce state revenues by $25 million. The think tank also said cutting the capital gains tax in Arkansas by 10% would reduce state revenues by $9.25 million.

Delta study shows small

business key to area’s future

A new study shows that small businesses have been the primary driver of job growth in the Delta area of Arkansas and the U.S. as larger employers have left the region.

The report, completed by the Delta Regional Authority and Southeast Missouri State University, analyzed unique data from the 2010 National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database generated from Dun & Bradstreet information to assess key trends driving employment. Findings from the study include:

— More than 90% of the new net Delta jobs over the past 20 years have been created by local small businesses of nine or fewer employees.

— During the years of the Great Recession, local small businesses created over 58,000 new jobs.

— During that same period, non-resident and non-commercial establishments eliminated nearly 368,000 jobs.

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Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his Web site address is www.talkbusiness.net.