Gloomy economic outlook for LR? | Arkansas Blog

Gloomy economic outlook for LR?



Somebody didn't get the memo that's been going around about how Little Rock is a shining star in the country's economic doldrums. Here's an article about a Moody's report on 22 cities at risk for slipping back into recession. Three of them are in Arkansas, including Little Rock.

With chances of a national double-dip recession now estimated at about one in four, several metro areas will probably experience their own downturns in the first half of 2011," said economist Andrew Gledhill, who wrote the report.

Gledhill identified the 22 markets listed below as having the biggest chance of a double-dip recession because their economies are linked to manufacturing or they've lost whatever industry it was that created the city to begin with.

The report found these faults in cities in Arkansas that made the list:

* Hot Springs, Ark. - resort city (high percentage of vacation homes) with a shortage of well-educated workers, below-average income and shortage of value-added industry.
* Pine Bluff, Ark. - Southern city with negative migration trends, below-average income and no clear economic driver
* Little Rock, Ark. - Southern city with no clear economic driver and a housing market showing moderate stress.

They could have added that Little Rock's own taxpayer-financed economic development arm, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, is busy promoting the message that public schools in Little Rock are a waste of taxpayer money.

UPDATE: The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reports that Moody's is revisiing its gloomy forecast for Hot Springs. Maybe some of those taxpayer-financed LR cheerleaders can get with Moody's to do the same for the capital city. From the Hot Springs report:

“We are updating our forecast for Hot Springs,” said Brent Campbell, an assistant economist [=at Moody]. “We have revised our report to show that Hot Springs is in recovery. We’re actually looking at a sharp spike upward in payroll and employment during the second quarter, so we actually have Hot Springs in recovery, rather than in recession.”

Campbell said figures show that Hot Springs’ tourism industry, as well as education and health care “are doing well, which is providing some stability.”

“Also home prices are off their lows and have been positive for the last two quarters, so we’re seeing some pick up in economic activity. We had seen a downward trend, but then a sharp spike up during the second quarter,” Campbell said, adding that a report on Hot Springs’ improved status “will be revised shortly.”

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