All Arkansas metro areas post 2012 GDP gains

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 40 views 

The Jonesboro metro area posted the largest percentage increase in real GDP growth among the eight metro areas in or connected to Arkansas, with Northwest Arkansas posting the best GDP growth between 2012 and 2009.

U.S. metro data for 2012 and revisions for previous years were released Tuesday (Sept. 17) by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real GDP increased in 305 of the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas in 2012, led by growth in durable-goods manufacturing, trade, and financial activities. The real GDP in metropolitan areas increased 2.5% in 2012 after increasing 1.7% in 2011.

All of the eight metro areas in Arkansas posted GDP gains in 2012 compared to 2011 and compared to 2009. Following are the percentage gains among the metro areas between 2012 and 2011.
• Jonesboro, up 3.26%
• Hot Springs, up 2.53%
• Memphis/West Memphis, up 2.03%
• Pine Bluff, up 1.97%
• Fort Smith, up 1.52%
• Texarkana, up 1.45%
• Little Rock/North Little Rock, up 0.63%
• Northwest Arkansas, up 0.29%

Jeff Collins, an economist with The City Wire, said gains in recent years must be kept in perspective.

“Let’s be very clear. Let’s understand the math. While this is certainly good news that all of the Arkansas metros reported a better GDP for 2012, when the bottom was as low as it was, improvement is not that difficult to achieve,” he said.

The report also noted that durable goods manufacturing was the leading growth sector in 2012, with an increase of 0.52%. A close second was the trade sector with 0.51% growth, followed by financial activities with 0.45%. (The BEA data did not include enough manufacturing data to compare rates of growth or decline among Arkansas’ metro areas.)

“Durable goods are often associated with the housing sector, so that really isn’t that much of a surprise,” Collins said. “And we’ve also seen automobile purchases have been really good.”

The housing sector has been strong so far in 2012. Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets during the first seven months of 2013 were up more than 11%, and were pushed higher by a more than 20% gain in July sales, according to The City Wire’s Arkansas Home Sales Report. The value of homes sold in the four markets between January and July totaled $1.93 billion, up 13.68% compared to the same period in 2012.

Collins also said the larger metro areas in Arkansas and around the nation will begin to show bigger percentage GDP gains compared to the overall picture.

“Once we enter a period of more normal trends, … will see the winners begin to distance themselves from the rest of the pack from an MSA perspective,” Collins predicted.

Indeed, the 10 largest U.S. metro areas reported GDP growth of 3.1% in 2012, ahead of the 2.5% national average. Those areas reported a 2011 GDP growth of 1.9%, better than the 1.7% U.S. average.

Of the 10 largest metropolitan areas, the three with the fastest real GDP growth in 2012 were San Francisco (7.4%), Houston (5.3%), and Dallas-Fort Worth (4.3%).

2012-2009 COMPARISON‚Ä®
The following table shows how the Arkansas metro areas have fared since 2009. The parenthetical number next to the metro area denotes the U.S. rank – among 381 metro areas – in terms of percentage gain in GDP between 2012 and 2011.

Northwest Arkansas (277)
2012: $17.54 billion – up 8.12% since 2009
2011: $17.448 billion
2010: $17.433 billion
2009: $16.222 billion

Fort Smith (194)
2012: $8.383 billion – up 3.11% since 2009
2011: $8.255 billion
2010: $8.28 billion
2009: $8.13 billion

Hot Springs (119)
2012: $2.508 billion– up 9.9% since 2009
2011: $2.446 billion
2010: $2.404 billion
2009: $2.332 billion

Jonesboro (76)
2012: $3.886 billion – up 7.76% since 2009
2011: $3.763 billion
2010: $3.774 billion
2009: $3.606 billion

Little Rock-North Little Rock (272)
2012: $29.722 billion– up 1.88% since 2009
2011: $29.534 billion
2010: $28.905 billion
2009: $29.172 billion

Memphis-West Memphis (45)
2012: $57.323 billion – up 3.77% since 2009
2011: $56.18 billion
2010: $55.985 billion
2009: $55.237 billion

Pine Bluff (351)
2012: $2.691 billion – up 0.86% since 2009
2011: $2.639 billion
2010: $2.702 billion
2009: $2.668 billion

Texarkana (296)
2012: $4.465 billion – up 3.98% since 2009
2011: $4.401 billion
2010: $4.365 billion
2009: $4.294 billion

Comments

comments