NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas economy is improving and growing despite the hardships of COVID-19.
The State of Northwest Arkansas Region Report highlighted economic indicators that are improving in the area. Mervin Jebaraj, director of the U of A’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said for the most part, NWA is seeing more jobs, businesses and increased wages.
“Other very strong positives we grew the number of businesses even in the midst of the pandemic by around close to 400 businesses in Northwest Arkansas and we’ve grown about 1,800 businesses in the last five years,” Jebaraj said.
The region’s unemployment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels. More people have also joined the labor force, but Jebaraj said there are still many job openings because of the region’s rapid population growth.
The report compared NWA’s economy to other aspirational regions such as Madison, Wisconsin and Austin, Texas.