NW Arkansas Ranks Fourth in Private Job Growth

Private jobs in Northwest Arkansas increased at one of the fastest rates in the U.S., according to preliminary statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among 383 metropolitan statistical areas, Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 4 in the U.S., increasing private jobs by 4.98 percent in the 12-month period that ended Nov. 30.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the new unemployment and employment statistics on Tuesday.

Three metropolitan statistical areas in Texas — Odessa, Midland and College Station-Bryan — were the only regions with faster private job growth in the 12-month period than Northwest Arkansas (the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA).

“We're on track to being recognized as one of the highest job-producing metro areas in the U.S. when 2013's year-end Bureau of Labor Statistics come out,” said Mike Harvey, the chief operating officer of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “The raw numbers will be impressive, but I'm even more encouraged by the broad based nature of the growth. It's a rising tide, and it should translate into higher median wages for our residents.”

The bureau reported the region had 194,300 private jobs in November 2013, about 9,000 more than November 2012.

Northwest Arkansas-based companies such as I.O. Metro, a furniture, art and accessories store founded in the region in 2005, are playing an important role in private job growth. While I.O. Metro has 18 stores in eight states, its decision in 2013 to centralize customer service and quality control operations to Northwest Arkansas increased its number of employees in the region. (Cherryl Gibson, an I.O. Metro design consultant, and Allen Crouch, the company's vice president and chief financial officer, are pictured above as they talk about the company's growth).

The region’s nonagriculture jobs were reported as 226,000 in November 2013. That’s about 9,400 more jobs than November 2012.

 Other Private Job Facts about Northwest Arkansas

  •  The number of private jobs in Northwest Arkansas (194,300) is twice as many as there were in 1991.
  • At least 500 private jobs were added each month between May and November.
  • Northwest Arkansas has more private jobs than areas with larger populations. There are 106 metropolitan statistical areas with more people, but only 92 with more private jobs. Areas with more people but fewer private jobs include Spokane, Wash.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Winston-Salem, N.C.; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas; and Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 5 in private sector job growth in 2001. It was No. 12 in 2002.