Well I have always thought that we live in the best place in the world... and that the "bad economy" wouldn't touch Northwest Arkansas and for the most part (in comparison to many other places) we have not been hurt as badly. Here is some great news... sent out in an email today from one of good friends at First National Title company!
Northwest Arkansas Positioned For 'Spectacular Growth'
Last updated Thursday, February 5, 2009 9:44 PM CST in News
By Lana F. Flowers
THE MORNING NEWS
BENTONVILLE -- New residents will move into new and vacant houses and Northwest Arkansas will return to the "spectacular kind of growth we were known for" in the early part of the decade, once the recession is over.
That was the message economist Jeff Collins of Streetsmart Data delivered to an audience of hundreds at the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday night.
The country has been in a recession since December 2007, Collins said, but economists did not want to be accused of being political. They didn't acknowledge the recession until after the presidential election.
Employers are eliminating thousands of jobs each week, including recent announcements that Macy's cut 7,000 jobs and Panasonic cut 15,000 employees.
Each job loss means more than one person is out of work due to a multiplier effect, Collins said. Unemployed people don't shop, eat at restaurants or visit the doctor without health insurance, so restaurant, retail and health care employees' jobs also become endangered, Collins said.
"This current recession obviously is affecting the psychology of individuals. Consumer confidence is hammered and people are afraid something bad will happen to them," he said.
Government bailouts and stimulus packages aim to put money in consumers' pockets, but that may not be the answer. Collins noted gasoline no longer is $4 per gallon but is closer to $2 per gallon, putting more disposable income in household budgets. However, people still are not spending.
Northwest Arkansas will be OK as federal dollars are directed to job creation in more populated areas. He predicted federal stimuli will result in 32,000 more jobs in the state, mostly in central and Northwest Arkansas.
Builders stopped constructing as many homes once real estate sales slowed significantly in the third quarter of 2006, but the area still saw about 5,000 new residents in 2008, Collins said.
Those residents spend money, buy houses and take up vacant office space, setting the stage for a recovery late this year or early in 2010, Collins said.