Service industry shows signs of economic recovery

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The economy seems to be looking up for the service industry. According to the Associated Press, service jobs edged up in the past few months.

"We opened in August," says Josh Richards, who is the manager of the Slim Chickens off Stadium. "It's a great location, great place to be," he says.

The restaurant originated in Fayetteville, AR in 2003, and like many businesses, it has struggled over the past couple of years.  But recently, the restaurant opened a location in Jonesboro. "They've added several businesses. It's just a slow process trying to get everything going and they've made it to Jonesboro," Richards says.

The Associated Press says the service industry, from restaurants to car washes, has seen an increase over the past few months, but a slow one.  The Institute for Supply Management says its service-sector index saw a 1.7 increase from August to September.

"We've had very slow growth in Northeast Arkansas, but then by the same token we didn't take the hit that many parts of the U.S. economy took.  It's an upward grade but a slow grade," says ASU Professor of Economics Dan Marburger.  He says it is showing improvement. "The service industry is really driven by consumer spending. People are spending more, but it's slowly increasing.  As long as the increases are slow, the increases in employment are going to be slow," Marburger explains.

Thirty new jobs were created with the Slim Chickens expansion, in an economy Richards says seems to be looking up. "I was very concerned, but our first month has been just great here."

Marburger says progress is being made locally but the U.S. is coming out of a very severe recession and it's going to take time to recover.

@2010 KAIT all rights reserved.