Forward Momentum in ArkansasJanuary 06, 2023
Arkansas is a state that gets things done, and 2022 was no different. Companies and workers throughout the state kept the momentum that Arkansas has had over the past years rolling.
We had a historic year in Arkansas in 2022, and it started with a bang. In January 2022, we announced the biggest capital investment project in Arkansas’ history – the new U.S. Steel facility in Osceola. This steel mill, which will be the most advanced facility of its kind in North America, is a $3 billion investment that will create 900 high-paying jobs in Mississippi County and further cements Arkansas as a steel hub in the United States.
Arkansas kept this momentum throughout 2022 with many new economic development announcements throughout the state. Tractor Supply Co. announced that it would build a new distribution center in Maumelle that will create more than 450 new jobs. Fiocchi USA selected Little Rock as the location for its new primer manufacturing facility, a $41.5 million investment creating 120 new jobs. Albemarle Corporation announced plans to invest up to $540 million to expand two bromine facilities in Magnolia. Independent Stave Company broke ground on a new stave mill that will create 60 new jobs near Batesville. These projects are just a handful of the wins that we announced in 2022, representing a diverse range of industries.
The past year’s economic development wins did not happen overnight. They represent weeks and months of hard work from many professionals at the local, state and regional levels to secure the deals.
2022 was a continuation and a culmination of the work that we have done for the past eight years under the administration of Governor Asa Hutchinson.
When Gov. Hutchinson took office, he pledged to be the “Jobs Governor.” Under his leadership, we have seen the number of jobs rise in Arkansas, increasing from 1,202,400 in January 2015 to 1,320,900 (as of November 2022) – an increase of 117,600 new jobs. Unemployment is at 3.7% in Arkansas, down from 5.5% in January 2022 – even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenging time, but we rose to the challenge. In Arkansas, we never shut down. Every business in our state is essential, and we kept the doors open in Arkansas. During this time, Arkansas was ranked as the no. 2 state in the nation for the most pandemic-proof small businesses by WalletHub.
But when we look back on the past eight years, it really comes down to the companies that have found success here and the talented, hard-working Arkansans who make this state an exceptional place to live and work. The projects that we’ve won are not just wins – they are jobs created for Arkansans, investments in the local communities, and new opportunities for business owners.
Companies big and small have expanded in and relocated to Arkansas over the past eight years – companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne, Amazon, Coorstek, Dansons USA, Emerson, Hytrol, Mars Petcare, Structurlam, and many others.
This success doesn’t happen on its own. It takes a well-oiled team – economic development is a team sport, after all – to accomplish great things. Thank you to all the economic development partners, business leaders and working Arkansans throughout the state who have played a role in moving our great state forward.
Arkansas has a bright future ahead. Let’s keep our momentum and keep moving Arkansas forward.