Arkansas’ unemployment rate was unchanged in June from May at 7.3 percent. The state jobless rate has hovered at or above 7 percent for 53 consecutive months, short of the record 111 months it stayed in that range from April 1980 to July of 1989. The number of employed in Arkansas during June was 1.234 million, down compared to the 1.255 million in June 2012.
Back-to-school spending expected to dip
Retailers began their “back-to-school” push earlier this year, but the National Retail Federation expects consumers will shell out $54 less per family this year compared to 2012. A survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics indicates families with school-age children will spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, down from $688.62 last year.
Deltic Timber gets boost
Improving sales prices for lumber and a gain from the acquisition of a joint venture helped Deltic Timber to a big second quarter net income boost. The El Dorado-based timber and real estate firm posted second quarter profits of $11.2 million compared to $3.5 million in the previous year’s quarter.
USA Truck shrinks loss
USA Truck shrunk its net loss to $1.04 million in the second quarter — still in the red but improving from its year-ago loss of $3.52 million. The Van Buren-based trucking firm, which has brought in turnaround CEO John Simone, said it posted a 7.7 percent increase in base revenues as its traditional trucking segment rebounded.
Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas inks Wind Energy deal
The Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) has reached a long-term agreement to purchase 150 megawatts of wind energy from RES America Developments Inc., a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas). The wind power will be sourced from the Origin Wind Energy project, which is located in Murray and Carter Counties in southeast Oklahoma. AECC will be the sole recipient of the electricity generated.
Mitchell Communications Group opening offices in New York, Chicago
Fayetteville-based Mitchell Communications Group will open new offices in New York and Chicago as the PR firm expands with new and existing clients in those markets. Mitchell Communications merged earlier this year with Japan’s Dentsu Network. The PR firm does business with Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt, Procter and Gamble and other major regional firms.
CJRW’S Woods brothers to be inducted in advertising Hall of Fame
Shelby Woods and Wayne Woods of Little Rock-based advertising/PR giant CJRW have been selected by the Tenth District of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) for the Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame’s 2013 class of inductees. The Woods brothers helped grow their largest client, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, through research and successful advertising and marketing campaigns. In part, their efforts helped Arkansas tourism emerge into a nearly $6 billion industry.
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 robytalkbusiness.net; his website address is www.talkbusiness.net