The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
show Arkansas added 6,500 jobs, or a .5 percent growth in workforce
. That puts us in the bottom five states in percentage job growth.
Also on the job front: Questions about announced Chinese investments.
So when you hear someone — the governor, for example — tout job growth, be sure to remember the old saying about "lies, damn lies and
statistics." Mississippi added 13,300 jobs in that time, by way of comparison. Oklahoma, 28,300. Missouri, 31,400. Louisiana, 19,200. Tennessee, 55,600. Texas, 344,700.
Here's another note on the job front:
Over the weekend, an Associated Press article quoted Gov. Asa Hutchinson
as saying Trump tariffs
shouldn't affect a planned Chinese-owned paper mill, which is to receive enormous state subsidies to build near Arkadelphia. He said the state was working with federal officials to exempt Sun Paper from tariffs. His economic director, Michael Preston, said concerns had already delayed the project for three months. Interesting, because the last story about delays in the Sun mill was that they were due to a change in the expected final product, from fluff to linerboard
, which meant a change in the necessary environmental permits.
Preston also commented that a "handful" of other Chinese companies had halted plans to build here because of tariff concerns.
Arkansas still waits for several announced Chinese investments here, some dating back more than a year, such as a pet food plant in Danville, a textile manufacturer in Forrest City and the Sun mill in Clark County. A textile maker has opened in the Little Rock Port and employs about 100.
Clark County officials, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the Sun project. A pre-engineering contract was awarded last month and groundbreaking was held recently for a rail spur in the industrial park where the mill would be built.