Researchers Put Northwest Arkansas 3rd in Future Economic Growth

A new report published today predicts Northwest Arkansas will be the third fastest-growing economy among large metropolitan areas in the nation through 2020.

The forecast prepared by IHS Global Insight was released today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meetings in Dallas. The report shows the economy is expected to grow by 4.2 percent annually through 2020. Only the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA in Texas (4.4 percent) and Raleigh-Cary in North Carolina (4.3 percent) are expected to grow at a faster rate.

"This report confirms some trends that we already know about the Arkansas economy,” said Kathy Deck, a University of Arkansas economist. “That is, the majority of the state's economic output comes from our two largest metropolitan areas and, in particular, the fast rate of growth of Northwest Arkansas means that the state will increasingly rely on the region's success for the state's prosperity. The projected high rate of growth for the gross metropolitan product in Northwest Arkansas is a direct result of the enormous and varied number of infrastructure, education, and community investments that have been made over the past couple of decades."

The full report shows the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA (Northwest Arkansas) in 2013 had the nation’s seventh fastest-growing economy among large metropolitan areas. It grew 3.8 percent last year, the report shows.