JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The future of Jonesboro and northeast Arkansas looks bright.
Business leaders met at Arkansas State University Wednesday morning to learn what the economic forecast looks like and what can be done to better it.
Mitch Bettis, president of the Arkansas Business Publishing Group, said this is the second year for the Regional Economic Forecast event in Jonesboro.
"Arkansas Business and the Jonesboro Area Chamber of Commerce along with a collection of other partners have produced this event," Bettis said. "We want to take a look at this dynamically changing environment in northeast Arkansas."
Panels focused on manufacturing and healthcare while state economists gave an overview of the big picture for the state.
"As the state goes, central Arkansas, northwest Arkansas, and northeast Arkansas are significant economic engines for the state, and so what's happening in northeast Arkansas is incredibly positive," Bettis said.
While there is growth in Jonesboro, Bettis said there is a problem that must be addressed.
"There are significant challenges on hiring and maintaining a workforce that can meet all the needs that are moving forward," Bettis said. "It's a significant problem facing every industry."
Other topics discussed included international hurdles such as agricultural prices or trade agreements and a local hurdle.
"Quality of life has a significant impact on recruiting great employees and retaining great employees," Bettis said. "It registers high on every survey. It's a significant part of what brings someone to a community."
Data showed Jonesboro is growing ahead of surrounding areas, and Bettis hopes business leaders are confident after attending the session.
"Business owners, large and small, see the big picture discussion we are having and hear from these CEO's, and hopefully have a little bit clearer crystal ball," Bettis said.
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