Arkansas Continues to Lose Manufacturing Jobs

DECEMBER 7, 2006 - Posted at 7:37 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas is just like the rest of the nation...automation, cheap foreign labor and market pressures are pushing manufacturing jobs out of the state.

The wave of losses got bigger in Arkansas during the last week, as two plywood mills and a television plant shed more than a thousand state workers.  State officials who are trying to retrain laid-off workers and attract new employers say the losses affect families and will eat into the state's strong tax base.

State economic analyst John Shellnutt believes the numbers will get worse as the nationwide slowdown hits Arkansas a little bit harder.  He said the impact of the layoffs of the past three or four months hasn't been felt yet.

Across Arkansas, state estimates show the manufacturing industry employed 195,500 people out of a total non-farm work force of 1.2 million in October.  That's down 4,600 manufacturing jobs from October a year ago.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)