The Compass Report: Central Arkansas

The Compass Report is the only independent economic analysis of Arkansas’ top three metro areas (Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith region). The report measures four leading and four current economic indicators to provide a grade for a regional economy.

A key factor in understanding The Compass is in understanding the “grading” approach used to measure the current and leading economic indicators. The strategy is to place the most recent data in historical context. Average values for the percent change over the referenced time period were calculated, as were standard deviations for each measure.

View the Fort Smith region report
View the Northwest Arkansas report


While not broad, improvements in employment, sales tax collections and tourism sector employment helped push positive economic trends during the third quarter of 2014 for Arkansas’ three largest metro areas.

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 1:53pm

Arkansas’ three largest metro areas showed either improvements or stability during the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, according to The Compass Report’s analysis of second quarter data.

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 2:22pm

Economic conditions in two of Arkansas’ three largest metro areas continue to be stable or improving, with central Arkansas – the state’s largest metro – continuing to show signs of weakness that began in the first quarter of 2013, according to The Compass Report’s analysis of first quarter 2014

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 4:52pm

The 2013 fourth quarter economy in the central Arkansas area received a grade of C- meaning that economic conditions declined slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 and were unchanged from the previous three quarters of the year, according to The Compass Report.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 4:15pm

The 2013 third quarter economy in the central Arkansas area received a grade of C- meaning that economic conditions declined slightly compared to the third quarter of 2012 but were unchanged the first and second quarters of 2013, according to The Compass Report.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 2:35pm

The 2013 second quarter economy in the central Arkansas area received a grade of C- meaning that economic conditions declined slightly compared to the second quarter of 2012 but were unchanged the first quarter of 2013, according to The Compass Report.

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 2:34pm

First quarter 2013 economic conditions in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (central Arkansas) metro area were down slightly compared to the first quarter of 2012.

Thu, 06/20/2013 - 10:18am

Fourth quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (central Arkansas) metro area were down slightly compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The quarter saw gains in building permit numbers and stability with sales tax collections.

Fri, 04/12/2013 - 11:30am

Third quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (central Arkansas) metro area saw limited gains in economic conditions compared to the third quarter of 2011.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 1:13pm

Second quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway (central Arkansas) metro area saw a minor decline in economic conditions compared to the second quarter of 2011. The 2012 second quarter economy in the central Arkansas area received a grade of C-.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 12:12pm

The 2012 first quarter economy in the central Arkansas area received a grade of B-, meaning that minor improvements were seen in most current and leading economic indicators.

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 1:43pm
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