Two Northwest Arkansas counties are leading the state when it comes to areas receiving the highest incoming investment, according to a new study by New York-based financial tech company SmartAsset.
While that isn’t exactly a surprise, it reinforces an important message that hopefully you already know but shouldn’t take for granted: Your money belongs here.
Benton County is No. 1 for the second consecutive year, and Washington County is up two spots to No. 2 in the second annual study that uses a variety of factors to rank areas receiving the greatest amount of investment in their local economies.
SmartAsset used four metrics to compile the incoming investment index: business growth (over a three-year period), Gross Domestic Product growth, new building permits (per 1,000 homes) and municipal bond investment.
Saline (Benton/Bryant), Faulkner (Conway) and Pulaski (Little Rock) round out the top five among Arkansas’ 75 counties.
Benton County’s overall ranking is buoyed by some strong indicators. The county led the state in new building permits per 1,000 homes during the three-year period between 2013 and 2016, at 25.1 permits per 1,000 homes. Benton County’s GDP growth of $330 million was second in the state. Its business growth was 6.3 percent, third in the state.
Washington County’s business growth rate of 5.2 percent and GDP growth of $295 million contributed to its rise to No. 2 in this year’s SmartAsset ranking.
Northwest Arkansas’ success is underscored when compared to Arkansas’ collective numbers from the study. Overall, the state actually had a negative business growth rate of -1.4 percent and an average GDP growth of $50 million.
We have all read reports and studies like this one so often that there is now a certain degree of normalcy to them.
The economic landscape of Northwest Arkansas is strong and getting stronger.
It’s still important, however, to take note and be impressed by that.