Jonesboro Ranks Low in Per-Capita Wages among State's Metro Areas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new federal survey shows communities surrounding Arkansas' capital city remain the places where workers earn the state's highest per-capita incomes.

Statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis show the per-capita income of those working in the area, including Conway, Little Rock and North Little Rock, at $34,485 in 2006, up from $26,959 in 2000.  The area includes Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, Pulaski and Saline counties.

The bureau conducts the surveys annually.

In other areas, northwest Arkansas ranked second with a per-capita income of $28,822 in 2006, up from $22,821 in 2000.  The area includes Benton, Madison and Washington counties, as well as McDonald County in Missouri.

In other places, the Hot Springs area showed a per-capita income of $28,816; Texarkana had $28,757; Fort Smith had $27,729 and the Jonesboro area had $26,370.  The lowest-earning region remained the Pine Bluff area, where statistics showed per-capita income was $24,695 in 2006.

The payroll in the health care industry continued to rise across nearly every region in Arkansas, with Little Rock-area businesses paying $1.8 billion in wages in 2006.

However, government payroll remained one of the largest in the state, with $4.1 billion paid in wages in Little Rock alone last year.  The figure includes federal, state and local payrolls.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)