FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The 2020 State of the Region report for the Northwest Arkansas region was released today.

The annual region report compares NWA economic performances to other high performance regions nationwide.

Compared to last year the population of NWA has grown by 1.8%.

The employment rate grew an average rate of 2% and unemployment rate has increased by 2.6%. University of Arkansas’ economist Mervin Jebaraj said COVID-19 has played a big role nationwide.

“There’s nothing these businesses can necessarily do in the shortrun that is going to improve the situation. At the end of the day until we resolve the pandemic we’re not going to be able to get people to these businesses at the numbers we need them to be sustainable,” he said.

Here is the full report.