The Arkansas manufacturing industry has been awarded a C grade in a new national study from Ball State University and Conexus Indiana.
Categories in the report included overall manufacturing industry health, logistics industry health, human capital, worker benefit costs, tax climate, expected liability gap, global reach, sector diversification, and productivity and innovation.
The areas were chosen as the most likely to be considered by site selection experts for manufacturing and logistics firms, and by the prevailing economic research on growth. Each category included multiple variables for each state that were aggregated and then ranked 1st through 50th, with 1st being the most desirable.
Within each category, the lowest aggregate score assigned provided the overall rank. Grades were assigned using a normal distribution of A through F. Plus and minus scores were not assigned to A or F grades.
For Arkansas, manufacturing industry health ranked a C, the same as the previous five years and down from 2010 and 2011’s C+ rating. Logistics industry health also scored a C, unchanged from the previous five years. Human capital — or the quality and availability of labor — and tax climate scored among the lowest at D-, with productivity and innovation bringing up the rear with an F. Of this category, the report stated, “Though innovations and inventions are aggressively sought from across the globe, the presence of local talent in these areas through access to university laboratories and non-profit research activities plays an important role in location decisions by manufacturers.”
Arkansas’ best grade (A) was attributed to worker benefit costs.
The report compiled the most recent data available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of the Census, U.S. Department of Transportation Center for Transportation Statistics, National Center for Educational Statistics, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Tax Foundation, U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Boston College Center for Retirement Research, U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), Census of Manufacturers, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Patent Office.
Link here for state-by-state report cards and further details.