#22 Arkansas

5.50 out of 10 in Taxation and Regulation

5.75 out of 10 in Workforce Quality

5.25 out of 10 in Living Environment

Right to Work?

Big Agriculture to Big Innovations

As a small, rural state known for its agriculture industry, Arkansas is rapidly broadening its economy to one of technology and innovation. The state has seen a number of high-profile corporate headquarters relocations and investments in recent years as companies continue to leave high-cost places like San Francisco, Boston and Silicon Valley. While 14,000 people are employed at Walmart’s headquarters, the activity has also given birth to a robust IT sector fueled by such companies as Tata Consultancy, Cognizant and UST Global.

From the Governor

“Our business missions to China, along with ongoing work to build relationships with the country’s business leaders, have now resulted in numerous companies from China announcing plans to locate operations in Arkansas.” —Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Key Industries

Aerospace, Biosciences, Data Centers, Distribution, Food & Beverage, SmartGrid Technologies

Key Companies

George Jr.

Key Contacts

Economic Development Commission

Mike Preston, Executive Director
900 West Capitol Avenue Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201
[email protected]

Key Incentives

Advantage Arkansas: Offers a state income tax credit for job creation based on number of permanent employees hired. Workers must be paid at least $10.99 per hour; tax credit is earned for five years and is limited to a max of 50% of a business’s tax liability.

ArkPlus: Provides tax credits of 10% of the total investment in a new location or expansion project.

Create Rebate: Negotiated and offered at the discretion of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and provides cash rebates based on a payroll of at least $2 million per year.

Targeted Business Incentives: Range of incentives in the manufacturing, agriculture, food and biosciences sectors for investments of at least $250,000 that meet the payroll requirements.


Arkansas Economic Development Commission: arkansasedc.com

Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives: aedce.org

Association of Arkansas Development Organizations: arkansaseconomicregions.org

Little Rock Regional Chamber: littlerockchamber.com

Highlighted Program or Initiative

The new Arkansas Business and Technology Accelerator Act created a $2 million accelerator grant program for startup companies and will seek out corporate sponsors to provide matching funds to create accelerator events throughout the state.

Big Deals

  • Nucor announced in September 2016 it would construct another $230 million cold mill at its Nucor Steel Arkansas location and add 80 jobs with an average annual salary of $80,000.
  • Chinese firm Shandong Ruyi Technology Group announced in May 2017 it would invest $410 million in the former Sanyo manufacturing facility in Forrest City and create 800 jobs.
  • TeleTech announced in June 2017 it would construct a new customer experience center in Morrilton and add 350 jobs.
  • Canadian manufacturer DBG announced in August 2017 it would establish a U.S. headquarters in Conway.

Big Companies

Seven Fortune 500 companies headquartered in state, including:
Tyson Foods
Murphy USA
J.B. Hunt Transport

C-Suite Testimonials

“Ruyi Group, as the largest textile manufacturer in China, has been expanding globally. Our manufacturing facility in Arkansas will become the first milestone of Ruyi’s steps into the United States. We are dedicated to provide the product with cutting-edge technology and superior quality.” —Yafu Qui, Chairman, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group

“The acquisition of Navistar’s former IC Bus operations allows us to be part of a growing community, provides us with a strong experienced workforce, increases our technical capabilities and diversifies our product offering…. We are excited that our research has led us to Conway.” —Mike De Biasi, CEO, DBG

“We are excited to bring this expansion to Arkansas that will enable us to efficiently produce products beyond that of any North American mill.” —Mary Emily Slate, Vice President and General Manager, Nucor Steel

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