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Manufacturing Thrives in Arkansas

 October 07, 2022

Across Arkansas, manufacturers are producing a wide range of essential goods every day that help people live their lives and that power our economy.

From Arkadelphia to Blytheville and from Searcy to Texarkana, these manufacturing companies employ thousands of Arkansans, providing high wage jobs that are vital to our state. In fact, more than 10 percent of the nonfarm workforce in Arkansas is employed in manufacturing. In September 2022, manufacturing employment as a percentage of the state’s total nonfarm employment was 12.41%.

Manufacturing is a critical sector in both Arkansas’ and the national economy. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), manufacturing contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, and every dollar spent in the manufacturing sector has a total impact of $2.64 to the economy at large.

The manufacturing industry is so important, and that’s why we highlight it with National Manufacturing Day.

National Manufacturing Day, or MFG Day, is held every year on the first Friday of October, which this year, falls on October 7. MFG Day is a day to recognize the hard work of manufacturers and manufacturing employees, while also inspiring the next generation of skilled workers.

This week, communities and companies throughout the state are spotlighting the important work of Arkansas manufacturers. These Manufacturing Day activities not only highlight these companies’ work but also expose our young students to the opportunities available in the manufacturing industry in Arkansas.

Inspiring the next generation of the workforce is critical for the success of the national and state economy. According to the Manufacturing Institute, manufacturers will need to fill approximately 4 million jobs in the next decade. Increasing the manufacturing workforce is a challenge Arkansas is working to meet, in order to continue our economic growth.

Our manufacturing sector is steadily growing with new companies locating to the state and existing businesses expanding in Arkansas. In 2022 alone, Arkansas has had multiple companies locate and expand in the state.

New manufacturing facilities in Arkansas were announced by U.S. Steel, which will invest $3 billion to build the most advanced steel manufacturing facility in North America. Emerson opened its new $35 million manufacturing facility for its professional tools business in Ash Flat. Synthesia Technology Inc. announced its plans to build its first U.S.-based manufacturing operation in Little Rock, creating 50 new jobs over three years. In May 2022, Lockheed Martin announced that its LMXT Strategic Tanker’s boom refueling system is set to be manufactured by Airbus in western Arkansas.

Arkansas has seen expansions at Bryce Corporation in Searcy, Independent Stave Mill in Independence County, Sierra Group Roofing & Solar in Blytheville, The Systems Group in El Dorado, W&W|AFCO Steel in Little Rock, Atlas Tube in Blytheville, Phoenix Innovations in Russellville, and Dark Threat Fabrication in Heber Springs.

Manufacturing companies are welcome in Arkansas, and we work tirelessly to help them thrive in our state.

At the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, there are multiple divisions that help manufacturers achieve success in The Natural State. The Business Development team, the Existing Business Resources Division, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions and others all play a role in helping manufacturing companies grow and expand in our state.

From aerospace manufacturing to steel manufacturing and everything in between, our state wants manufacturing companies to keep succeeding, creating jobs, and producing the goods that keep our global economy flying high. With our business-friendly environment, talented workforce and low cost of living and doing business, Arkansas is ready to help manufacturers thrive – both now and in the years to come. 

Copy of Copy of Conference Call

Blog post contributed by:

Clint O'Neal
Deputy Director, Global Business
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
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