Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore said Thursday (Feb. 25) that another steel company will locate south of Osceola and bring 50 jobs to the area.
Arkansas Steel Processing is building its facility near the Big River Steel facility just off U.S. 61, with construction beginning last summer. Kennemore said the company formally made its announcement this week, with hiring to begin this summer.
Big River Steel is building a $1.3 billion steel mill that will employ about 550 when fully operational. Around 1,500 people are working at the construction site
Arkansas Steel will use a sheet metal slitter that will cut steel to various sizes, Kennemore said.
“Big River Steel will make 60-inch wide sheets. This company will be able to cut it into 12-inch pieces and send it to pipe companies,” Kennemore said.
The steel will also be used to make electrical transformers and can be used in breaker boxes as well. The company will use a Canadian-based slitter to cut steel from 0.075 inches to 5/8-inch thick, weighing at least 100,000 pounds and at least six and a half feet wide, the publication noted. Company officials told industry publication American Metal Market that they will be able to process 300,000 tons of steel each year at the Osceola site.
An attempt to reach company officials Thursday was not successful.
The American Steel facility should help the county improve on what has been a positive jobs trend. The county has seen its unemployment rate drop in recent years due to economic activity. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county had a 7.4% unemployment rate in December, down from 8% in December 2014.
In December 2010, the county had a 12% unemployment rate, dropping to 10.9% in December 2011, 10.7% in December 2012 and 10.5% in December 2013, records indicated.
Kennemore said the company is the eighth one to locate in the industrial park in the past year. Construction has been ongoing at the Arkansas Steel Processing and Big River Steel sites for the past year. Kennemore said the construction will help the local economy in the present and into the future.
“It is a big deal for Osceola and pretty much all over Northeast Arkansas,” Kennemore said.