KASU

economy

Arkansas State University

Dr. Philip Tew has a passion for educating young people about financial matters.  He is associate professor of finance in the Neil Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State.  Tew is also the director for the Center of Economic Education and Financial Literacy and also is the director of the Scarlet to Black financial literacy program on the A-State campus.  

Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

Economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses tariffs, trade, deficit growth and personal income data.


  In the two years since Peco Foods started operations in northeast Arkansas, one northeast Arkansas town has seen an explosion of growth.  Pocahontas has seen an influx of people coming to the town to work at Peco.  The last Census numbers show that Pocahontas has a population of 6,800…but Mayor Kary Story thinks that number now is close to 8,500..and growing.  Story says when Peco announced they were coming to Randolph County in 2014, a plan was put in place to start building housing.

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Incoming Senate President Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, says he wants members to vote later this year to open up the Senate chamber and its committee meetings for live-streaming.

Angela Lowther, Executive Dir. of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, sitting with Paul Gatling, Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Talk Business and Politics

Health insurance—it’s constantly a worry for business owners, and the dynamics are continually changing.  TB&P Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling recently sat down with Angela Lowther, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, to find out what’s happening… in the Marketplace.


The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's ruling, and thus, an appointed commission and a state agency may resume rollout of the state's medical marijuana program, stalled since March.

But the court's majority opinion hewed closely to a procedural consideration, and its chief justice appears to be cautioning the Medical Marijuana Commission to re-evaluate its procedures.

The whole scene may end up back in court before long, says one lawyer close to the process.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program, reversing and dismissing a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first license for businesses to grow the drug.

Talk Business and Politics

About three years ago Ronnie Samuel’s son was searching for a bumper for his ATV. When Samuel saw what was on the market, he told his son they could make something better.

Rage Fabrications was born.

The company opened its doors on a new facility Monday (June 18) in Trumann. Samuel told Talk Business & Politics his company invested about $200,000 in the company and it employs 10 workers. The facility located in the Truman industrial park is owned by the city, but Rage has signed a lease for at least five years and it has options for it to be extended up to 20 years.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

Hefei Risever Machinery Co., Arkansas' 5th Chinese-headquartered company, broke ground on Friday, in the Northeast corner of the state. 

The ceremony took place at their new location—behind FMH Conveyors at the Craighead Technology Park in East Jonesboro.  Risever makes fabrication parts for various manufacturers, such as Caterpillar and Volvo. Back in 2017, Risever announced their plans to build their first North American plant in Jonesboro. 

Today the state Supreme Court takes up the matter of the state’s medical marijuana program, stalled since March. If it upholds Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s decision nullifying the Medical Marijuana Commission’s top five picks for marijuana growing licenses — indeed the very selection process the Commission used — it could push the forecast for available medical marijuana into 2019.

That would mean money out of the pockets of many early investors such as entrepreneur Brian Teeter.

Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

UA Walton College economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses with Talk Business’ Roby Brock what’s at work in the Arkansas economy, including GDP and population shifts.


A picture of the inside of a remodeled Walmart in Miami, Florida.
Wikipedia

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is offering its employees a new perk: affordable access to a college degree.

America's largest private employer, which in the past has helped its workers get their high school or equivalency degrees, hopes the new benefit will help it recruit and retain higher quality entry-level employees in a tight U.S. labor market.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' fastest-growing cities are mostly suburbs while more rural, smaller cities are shrinking, according to recent census figures.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data Thursday including the state's population changes between 2010 and 2017, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

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KENNETT, Mo. (AP) — The sudden closure of a hospital has left some expectant mothers in the Missouri Bootheel region scrambling for care in an area that already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In his bid for re-election, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he’s helped bring more than 60,000 jobs to the state since taking office. Of course, not all jobs are the same. As part of Arkansas Public Media's ongoing partnership with the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas, assistant professor Rob Wells and his students investigated wages in Northwest Arkansas and sought out low-wage workers in and around the flagship university campus for a multimedia project called “Working for Low Wages in Arkansas.” Click to learn more.

Twenty-five percent of families are considered to be in poverty in Northwest Arkansas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and many of them are working for a living.

What is that like? How do these people make ends meet?

A group of University of Arkansas journalism students set out this semester to examine life for people living at or close to minimum wage. 

(left to right) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, and Talk Bussiness & Politics' Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

Talk Business and Politics’ Roby Brock sits down with Stacy Hurst, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson.  They talk about how public-private partnerships are being created to help maintain the state’s heritage and tourist attractions.


Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Next July, Jonesboro is expected to have a hotel and convention center open.  It will be on the campus of Arkansas State University.  Jonesboro is very similar to Springfield, Missouri.  Comparisons were made between the two cities during last week’s groundbreaking ceremony.  Tim O’Reilly is with O’Reilly Hospitality Management, which is making the project possible.  O’Reilly says this project is a big deal for Jonesboro because of the economic impacts that will open up to the city that have not been in Jonesboro before.  He uses Springfield as an example.

Leaders breaking ground on the new Red Wolf Convention Center and Hotel at the Jonesboro campus of Arkansas State University.
Brandon Tabor / KASU News

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Red Wolf Convention Center and Hotel at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro on Thursday was more than just a celebration, but a reminder of the center’s other purpose—education.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley talking with Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, a once troubled and embattled state program that was struggling with legislative oversite and declining revenues, has made a remarkable turnaround in the last couple of years.  About the only headlines you read these days are good ones about the program.  Lottery Director Bishop Woosley sits with host Roby Brock to discuss what’s been the “winning ticket” for the program’s success.


Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

HICKMAN, Ark. (AP) - A North Carolina-based steel company is furthering its expansion in northeast Arkansas with a planned $240 million sheet metal production line.

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Gas prices are between 40 to 50-cents higher this year than they were last year.  With record numbers of drivers expected to be on the road for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, high demand could make the price at the pump higher.  Mike Right is the Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Automobile Association. He tells what is causing the gas prices to go higher.  

U. S. Capitol
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing on Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings about protecting its users' data. The House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing follows hours of questioning by lawmakers in the Senate.

U. S. Capitol
Liam James Doyle / NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill to answer questions about protecting user data. The hearing held by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees follows news that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users.

Farmers around Arkansas are feeling optimistic about the chances of corn producing a healthy harvest this year.  Nationally, corn hit a record yield in 2017 and prices averaged $3.50 per bushel, making corn among the best paid of the major row crops.

Arkansas may not be part of the traditional corn belt of the U.S. but still makes a great place to grow corn, according to Bono farmer Tyler Nutt.  He said much of corn’s success is due to Arkansas’s status as the second most poultry-producing state with almost unlimited demand for corn to feed chickens.

“You put a pencil to it, and whatever pays out better, that’s typically the crop you plant,” Nutt said.

He said corn is also good for the soil, and needs far less water than rice.

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UA Walton College of Business economist Mervin Jebaraj said the strong population growth in Arkansas metropolitan areas is a welcome trend, but he warns that a downside is the struggle to find affordable housing.

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Trucking and transportation is a dynamic industry in Arkansas.  Accounting for about 1 in 10 jobs, the industry is a huge component of the state’s economy.  Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, has been in the middle of everything from regulatory changes to worker shortages to technological disruption.  Roby Brock of Talk Business sits with Newton to discuss what’s “shifting” the industry’s gears.


John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Medical marijuana--will it ever launch in Arkansas?  Last week, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen went further than many thought after his temporary restraining order turned into a ‘null and void’ declaration on the state’s process for awarding 5 cultivation facilities.  Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she’ll appeal, but the ruling has brought chaos to what was already a bit of a chaotic process for medical marijuana.  John Brummet, columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, discusses this news with Roby Brock of Talk Business.


Making communities in Arkansas more successful when competing with other states for industries and jobs is the goal of a new program announced Monday by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The “Competitive Communities Initiative” is an evaluation process developed by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. It’s intended to help cities identify assets that companies look for when selecting new host sites. Governor Hutchinson spoke to over 100 city leaders at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock about the need for the initiative.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

A March 21 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen that essentially halted the implementation of medical marijuana use in Arkansas has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. It is not certain when the court will take up the case.

Adam Mitchell, president of Citizens Bank, with Roby Brock of Talk Business and Politics
Talk Business and Politics

Former Simmons Bank Executive Adam Mitchell has been named as the new president of Citizens Bank.  The Batesville-based bank has a larger-than-you-might-think-footprint around the state.  But, where does Mitchell see opportunity?  And what’s at work for community banks seeking to manage themselves in this age of financial technological revolution?  Roby Brock of Talk Business sits down with Mitchell to discuss.


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