Northwest Arkansas Economic Recovery Strategy

COVID-19 presents great challenges to Northwest Arkansas (NWA) as it does to every community, but the region is in strong standing to weather this global pandemic.

Ensuring it does so requires leveraging – and enhancing – the region’s economic, social and demographic strengths while addressing its weaknesses.

To generate such an economic recovery strategy, Heartland Forward (HF) has undertaken an extensive and detailed analysis of the NWA region’s strengths, challenges and opportunities. Our team has arrayed and assessed comprehensive data on its economy and industries, its small businesses and startup ecosystem, talent base, changing demographic composition and quality of place that stems from its arts, culture and recreation efforts and initiatives to develop a robust strategy for post-COVID-19 recovery.

We supplemented these details with interviews and focus groups with real people living in NWA and representing each of these core sectors and communities to provide in-depth background into what is happening on the ground in NWA.

Before the crisis hit, our assessment indicates that the region was performing well . . . excelling in population growth, job and wage growth and other vital metrics.

NWA ranked:

  • fourth in population growth of the more than 100 U.S. metro areas with more than 500,000 people since 1990,
  • third in job growth, and
  • second in annual average pay gains among medium-size metropolitan areas (i.e., populations of 500,000 to 999,999) between 2013 and 2018.

Read the rest of this piece at Heartland Forward.

Download the full report.