The Northwest Arkansas region added about 10,000 jobs last year and saw a job increase of 4.56%, ranking it 26th for job growth among the country’s 381 largest metropolitan areas.
Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business, and Mike Harvey, the Northwest Arkansas Council’s chief operating officer, announced those figures to area community leaders Friday, according to a press release from the Council.
The announcement was based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A January announcement incorrectly indicated the region had added only 3,000 jobs in 2014 because the Bureau had lacked some information about the economy, Deck said. The March revisions more correctly measured job growth in trade, transportation, utilities and other sectors.
According to the release, the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area outpaced larger MSAs such as Charleston, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
The MSA is made up of Washington, Benton and Madison Counties in Arkansas and McDonald County in Missouri. Major cities include Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and Siloam Springs.
The region also outperformed areas that the NWA Council had identified as “benchmark regions” in its three-year strategic growth plan. Those regions were Austin, Tex.; Raleigh, North Carolina; Des Moines, Iowa; and Madison, Wisconsin.
The Northwest Arkansas MSA reached 501,653 residents by July 1, 2014. The release said the Census Bureau showed the region’s population had increased by 8.3 percent, or 38,400 people, since the 2010 census. Reaching a population of 500,000 is considered advantageous because it makes a region more visible to business site locators.