Talk Business & Politics is partnering with the Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development to continue producing the closely watched The Compass Report.
The Compass Report is the only independent economic analysis of Arkansas’ top four metro areas (Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith region, and the Jonesboro region). The report measures four leading and four current economic indicators to provide a grade for a regional economy.
The Compass Report was launched in the first quarter of 2009 to measure the Fort Smith metro economy. In 2012 it was expanded to include the central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas metro areas, and in 2016 the Jonesboro metro was added to the report.
Dr. Matthew Hill, a certified financial analyst and director of Arkansas State University’s Center for Treasury and Financial Analytics within the A-State Neil Griffin College of Business, has agreed to provide analysis for economic data collected by Talk Business & Politics.
During his tenure at the University of Mississippi and Arkansas State University, Hill has received awards and grants for his research on corporate liquidity/working capital management behavior and corporate political connections. He is a subject matter expert for the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) and consults on strategic financial planning, best practices in treasury/liquidity management, and forecasting using Monte Carlo simulation methods. He is co-author of “Short-Term Financial Management 5th edition,” an undergraduate textbook used by more than 40 universities in North America and Europe. Hill is a co-editor of “Essentials of Treasury Management 5th edition,” which serves as the body of knowledge for the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) examination.
“Taking the pulse of the economy for the state of Arkansas is important to local business leaders, politicians, and financial institutions alike,” said Hill, who is also a finance professor. “As a native Arkansan and a faculty member at Arkansas State University, I am excited about the opportunity to partner with Talk Business & Politics on the development of The Compass Report. I look forward to detailing the continued evolution in our state’s economy and benchmarking our progress against the rest of the region and country.”
Michael Tilley, a co-owner and executive editor of Talk Business & Politics, thanked Jeff Collins, an economist and former director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, for helping launch the report. Collins’ career has become so busy he can no longer provide analysis for the economic data. With A-State stepping up, Talk Business & Politics is ready to get caught up on reporting third and fourth quarter data about Arkansas’ economy.
“Delta Center Director Andrea Allen and Dr. Hill’s willingness to be an integral part of The Compass Report ensures we can continue to produce a neutral, unbiased view of key measures of the state’s economy,” Tilley said. “They have the background and resources to be a vital partner and help us keep the report fresh in the coming years. We are certainly proud of this partnership with A-State.”
The most recent The Compass Report showed that Arkansas’ economy remained on a positive path during the second quarter of 2017, with three of the state’s four metro areas measured by The Compass Report posting year-over-year job gains. The central Arkansas economy added 2,600 jobs, up 0.7%, between June 2016 and June 2017. The Northwest Arkansas regional economy grew 4.1% , adding 10,100 jobs. The Jonesboro metro area grew at the rate of 2.5% and added 1,400 jobs. The Fort Smith regional economy lost roughly 800 jobs, down 0.7% during the same period.