Manufacturing is still a force in Arkansas

Today’s Arkansas Democrat Gazette ( reports that Arkansas has the third highest concentration of the nation’s manufacturing employment — behind Indiana and Wisconsin.

The piece, penned by David Smith, cites Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that 16 percent of all working Arkansans are employed by manufacturers.

Not necessarily a surprise, food manufacturing is booming in the state. Arkansas’ chief economist says we have 3 to 4 times the concentration of food manufacturing than the national average.

And it ain’t all chicken processing. Frito Lay and Nestle are in the Jonesboro area. Fort Smith boasts Gerber, Planters, and Hiram Walker.

Arkansas shouldn’t stop recruiting manufacturing jobs, Kaza said. The jobs average $36,000 in Arkansas, close to the national average for manufacturing jobs of $39,000.

“Actually you can have an economy that is creating manufacturing jobs at the same time it is creating knowledge-based jobs,” Kaza said.

“The data illustrates the importance of manufacturing to Arkansas’ economy,” he said.

Source: Manufacturing is still a force in Arkansas (subscription required)

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