Economists weigh in on national, state and regional economic health in 2018
Little Rock (Talk Business & Politics) —
Three economists who closely watch Arkansas’ economy believe job growth and positive GDP reports will continue into 2018. Unfortunately, uneven economic growth in the state and a low labor force participation rate are also likely to be realities in 2018.
Mervin Jebaraj, recently named director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, said it will take unforeseen “shocks to the system” to slow or reverse economic trends for the state and nation.
“The nation as whole is in the 102nd consecutive month of economic growth and assuming the economy continues to grow in the first five months of 2018, we will have the second-longest economic expansion in our nation’s recorded economic history,” he said. “Small business optimism is up and consumer sentiment is doing pretty well.”
Jebaraj also said Arkansas set a record unemployment rate of 3.4% in 2017 — first posted in May — and the state’s GDP growth was ranked 14th in the nation. The low rate held for June and July before rising to 3.6% in October, the last month of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) available by presstime.
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