50 in 50: Arkansas

50 states in 50 weeks: U.S. states economic and infrastructure highlights.

Key Economic Indicators

GDP: $120.2 billion

GDP 5-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) (2017-2021): 1.4% (U.S: 1.6%)

GDP per capita: $39,720 (U.S.: $58,154)

Population: 3.0 million

Population 5-year CAGR (2017-2021): 0.2% (U.S.: 0.5%)

Unemployment: 3.1% (U.S.: 3.9%)

Economic health ranking: #19 out of 50

Fiscal health ranking: #20 out 50

Overall tax climate ranking: #45 out of 50

Key Sectors and Metro Areas

Top five industry sectors by 2021 GDP:

GDP ($ billions)
% of total GDP
Real estate and rental and leasing
State and local
Health care
Wholesale trade

Top three industry sectors by GDP 5-year CAGR (2017-2021):

GDP 5-year CAGR
Management of companies and enterprises
Finance and insurance
Administrative and waste management services

Top three metro areas by GDP:

  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
  • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
  • Fort Smith

Top three areas by population 5-year CAGR (2016-2020):

  • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
  • Jonesboro
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway

Infrastructure Highlights

Infrastructure: Arkansas will receive almost $5 billion in infrastructure funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which will help the state improve highways, bridges, and water infrastructure.

The Natural State is below the national average in terms of vehicle operating costs per motorist and is one of the states with the least percentage of roads in good condition. Arkansas has a high number of bridges (12,902) and 4.9% of them are rated structurally deficient. Additionally, Arkansas is among the states with the most financial needs for investment in drinking water infrastructure, estimated at $7.4 billion. The IIJA will make the following funds available to Arkansas over the next five years:

Improvement Area
$3.6 billion
Roads and highways
$528 million
Clean drinking water
$278 million
Bridge replacement and repair
$246 million
Public transportation
$117 million
$100 million
$54 million
Expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network
$23 million
Wildfire protection
$16 million
Cyberattack protection

Construction spending (Value of Construction Put in Place – CPiP):

  • Private Nonresidential CPiP: $2.6 billion; 3.4% 5-year CAGR (2016-2020), above overall U.S. CAGR of 2%
  • State & Local CPiP: $2.8 billion in 2020; 0.2% 5-year CAGR (2016-2020), below overall U.S. CAGR of 4.8%

AE Industry

ENR 500 firm headquarters (2021): 1

M&A activity since 2018:

  • 7 deals with AR buyers
  • 8 deals with AR sellers 

For customized market research, contact Rafael Barbosa at [email protected] or 972.266.4955. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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