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Compass Reports

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
View the Northwest Arkansas report


The fifth edition of The Consumer Compass Report shows a drop in confidence with respect to personal finances and the overall economy — a finding that should come as no surprise to anyone closely watching economic conditions locally and at the state and national levels.

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 2:30pm

Editor’s note: Following is the analysis from economic Jeff Collins related to the national economy. The analysis was part of The Compass Report for the second quarter of 2011.

Mon, 09/12/2011 - 2:27pm

Second quarter 2011 economic conditions were slightly improved compared to the first quarter of 2011 and unchanged compared to the second quarter of 2010 — thanks to stability in sales tax collections and gains in hospitality industry employment.

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 11:30am

Hospitality tax collections and building permit values were the only bright spots in the regional economy for the July report of Numbers by the Wire.

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 9:28am

Area sales and hospitality tax collections continue to show improvements, but economists believe higher fuel and commodity prices have depressed consumer spending.

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 12:22pm

The May 2011 Numbers by the Wire report show improvements in area sales and hospitality tax collections, albeit at a slow pace thanks to the negative effect of higher fuel prices on consumer spending. The unemployment rate fell, but area home sales continue to show weakness compared to 2010.

Fri, 06/24/2011 - 9:04am

People in the Fort Smith region appear to be uncertain about personal finances and the overall economy, according to the most recent The Consumer Compass Report.

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 6:50am

First quarter 2011 economic conditions were mostly unchanged compared to the 2010 period, but sales tax gains and improving employment figures indicate improving momentum.

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 9:45am

The April 2011 Numbers by the Wire report finds that improvements were evident in area sales and hospitality tax collections, suggesting gains in consumer confidence.

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 9:55am

The March 2011 Numbers by the Wire report finds that persistent regional high employment rates and lackluster home sales continue to indicate a weak economy.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 3:33pm

The Compass Report is being expanded with the addition of a monthly report — presented electronically as a two-page PDF — on nine key sets of local, state and federal economic data.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 3:38pm

Economic confidence among people in the Fort Smith region is shaky, with the most recent The Consumer Compass Survey showing a decline in the number of people who believe their financial situation will be better a year from now.

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 10:09am

The fourth quarter 2010 economy in the Fort Smith region saw momentum weaken, primarily because of rising unemployment figures that offset moderate gains in sales tax collections.

Fri, 02/25/2011 - 2:10pm

Past and potential future economic and political moves will be addressed during the 2nd Annual The Compass Conference scheduled for Feb.

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 1:24pm

Third quarter economic conditions were relatively unchanged in the Fort Smith region compared to the 2009 period, with declines in sales tax collections and building permit values and no employment growth likely preventing a better economic grade.

Thu, 12/02/2010 - 10:41am

Editor’s note: This is the third of four reports related to The City Wire’s The Compass Report.

Wed, 12/01/2010 - 8:56am

Editor’s note: This is the first of four reports related to The City Wire’s The Compass Report.

Mon, 11/29/2010 - 6:11pm

More than 40% of Fort Smith regional residents surveyed in the inaugural The Consumer Compass survey say their personal financial situation is worse than it was a year ago.

Thu, 09/02/2010 - 10:36am

The good news is that the Fort Smith regional economy did not slip during the second quarter. The bad news is, it didn’t get better.

Thu, 09/02/2010 - 10:24am

U.S. economic conditions see stability in early 2010.

Fri, 05/28/2010 - 7:03am

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