The Compass Report: Northwest Arkansas Region

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 Central 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

Continued gains in employment and sales tax collections helped the Northwest Arkansas economy finish 2013 with a strong fourth quarter, according to The Compass Report.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 4:05pm

Economic conditions for the Northwest Arkansas economy were stronger in the third quarter than in the previous three quarters, with employment and building permit numbers leading the way.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 2:30pm

Economic conditions remained positive in Northwest Arkansas during the second quarter of 2013, and are stronger than the second quarter of 2012 thanks to continued gains in employment and building permit values.

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 2:20pm

Economic conditions in Northwest Arkansas have been strong for several quarters, and the first quarter 2013 economy improved compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

Thu, 06/20/2013 - 10:12am

With not as many service points as other regional airports, the severe weather during May was a cause in Fort Smith Regional Airport traffic declining almost 3% in May. Traffic in to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) was up over 4% in May.

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 2:26pm

Economic conditions in Northwest Arkansas remain robust, with regional growth similar to that of the fourth quarter of 2011, but slightly less than in the third quarter of 2012, according to The Compass Report.

Fri, 04/12/2013 - 11:23am

Third quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Northwest Arkansas metro area were improved compared to the third quarter of 2011. Ongoing job growth and consistent gains in area sales tax collections are signs of the strong metro economy.

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

Second quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Northwest Arkansas metro area were slightly improved compared to the second quarter of 2011. Ongoing job growth and consistent gains in area sales tax collections are signs of the strong metro economy.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 11:41am

First quarter 2012 economic conditions in the Northwest Arkansas metro area saw improvements compared to the first quarter of 2011. The gains were primarily the result of higher employment and continued increases in area sales tax collections.

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 1:30pm
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