Arkansas Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 92,815 employers, up 1.7% from 91,248
  • 1,231,961 employees, up 0.4% from 1,227,123
  • $898 average weekly wage, up 3.2% from $870
  • The average weekly wage is 24.2% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 13.1% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 1,567, which is an increase of 1.7%. The number of employees in Arkansas increased by 4,838, an increase of 0.4%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $28, an increase of 3.2%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 1,510 or 1.7%. Growth in private businesses in Arkansas grew slower than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 6,271 or 0.6%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Arkansas was slower than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $29 or 3.3%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Arkansas grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 16.0% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 0.9%. Retail trade (11.9%), which increased by 0.4% and Professional services (10.3%), which increased by 4.1%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information998.0%
Waste services2956.1%
Educational services535.9%
Professional services3764.1%
Transport and warehousing1123.8%
Agriculture and forestry713.4%
Real estate and rental1113.2%
Arts and entertainment323.2%
Construction1742.5%
Accommodation and food services1332.1%
Wholesale trade1201.7%
Finance and insurance731.5%
Other services440.8%
Retail trade390.4%
Manufacturing-4-0.1%
Healthcare-135-0.9%
Mining and oil extraction-4-0.9%
Company management-13-2.3%
Utilities-66-13.9%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 14.3% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 0.1% in the last year. Manufacturing (13.1%), decreased by 0.1% and Retail trade (11.3%), decreased by 1.2%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment6896.7%
Construction1,7823.5%
Real estate and rental4073.0%
Transport and warehousing1,5352.8%
Educational services3012.4%
Accommodation and food services2,0251.9%
Professional services7311.7%
Finance and insurance6171.6%
Agriculture and forestry1761.4%
Utilities610.8%
Waste services1570.2%
Healthcare1820.1%
Wholesale trade-40-0.1%
Manufacturing-197-0.1%
Other services-37-0.1%
Mining and oil extraction-20-0.5%
Company management-325-0.9%
Information-121-1.1%
Retail trade-1,652-1.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,139per week compared with the state average of $901. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $93 or 4.5%. Utilities ($1,737), rose by $19 or 1.1% and Wholesale trade ($1,408) increased by $40 or 2.9% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Real estate and rental$465.7%
Finance and insurance$685.5%
Accommodation and food services$165.1%
Agriculture and forestry$444.9%
Company management$934.5%
Construction$444.3%
Information$444.1%
Retail trade$213.9%
Healthcare$343.9%
Manufacturing$353.7%
Wholesale trade$402.9%
Other services$192.7%
Waste services$162.6%
Utilities$191.1%
Transport and warehousing$70.7%
Arts and entertainment$20.4%
Professional services$-2-0.1%
Educational services$-2-0.3%
Mining and oil extraction$-34-2.6%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Arkansas. the industry with the most businesses is Services for the elderly and disabled with 6.9% of the businesses in the state (with 6,436 employing 18,130 workers). The Services for the elderly and disabled industry had 289 fewer businesses, a decline of 4.3% in the last year. Restaurants and other eating places (5.4% of businesses) added 120 businesses, an increase of 2.5% and Offices of physicians (2.5% of businesses) added 14 businesses, an increase of 0.6% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Pension funds3300.0%
Food crops grown under cover3100.0%
Plastics bottle manufacturing266.7%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers5160.7%
Piece goods merchant wholesalers660.0%
Taxi service444.4%
Footwear merchant wholesalers440.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Computer systems design and related services1889.9%
Restaurants and other eating places1202.5%
Data processing hosting and related services6520.7%
Temporary help services606.7%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers596.3%
Residential building construction554.3%
Management consulting services543.6%


Employees by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places (5.4% of employees) added 120 employees, an increase of 2.5% and Offices of physicians (2.5% ofemployees) added 14 employees, an increase of 0.6% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Investment banking and securities dealing45563.9%
Agents and managers for public figures1254.9%
Theater companies and dinner theaters10548.4%
Port and harbor operations9245.0%
Other direct selling establishments9743.8%
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing1,15638.1%
Other similar organizations9737.4%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Restaurants and other eating places1,5891.8%
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing1,15638.1%
Animal slaughtering and processing9772.9%
Office administrative services65816.8%
General warehousing and storage5489.4%
Local messengers and local delivery46334.8%
Investment banking and securities dealing45563.9%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Industrial design services, paying $3,276 compared with the state average of $901. Employees in the Industrial design services industry were paid $593 more per week, an increase of 22.1% in the last year. Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes ($2,949) and Portfolio management ($2,747) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes ($2,949 per week) were paid $1,191 more per week, an increase of 67.7% and Portfolio management ($2,747 per week) were paid $150 less per week, a decline of 5.2% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Agricultural implement manufacturing$1,107160.7%
Trusts estates and agency accounts$78393.3%
Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes$1,19167.7%
Sound recording studios$35849.9%
Other warehousing and storage$44348.9%
Other specialized design services$36743.7%
Packaging and labeling services$24940.8%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes$1,19167.7%
Agricultural implement manufacturing$1,107160.7%
Trusts estates and agency accounts$78393.3%
Industrial design services$59322.1%
Other warehousing and storage$44348.9%
Commodity contracts brokerage$42938.0%
Other activities related to real estate$39834.2%


Company Size

Arkansas Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Arkansas by far. 62.3% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 84,426 small businesses in the state represent 96.2% of all private businesses. The national average is 91.2%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Arkansas added 2,050 businesses in the last year, an increase of 2.4% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 2,020 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.5% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 29 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.9% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 1 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.7% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Arkansas Employees by Business Size

Arkansas added 37,329 employees in the last year, an increase of 3.8% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 15,815 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 23.1% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 18,309 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 5.2% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 3,205 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 2.0% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

Arkansas Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

Arkansas workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in Arkansas (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 11.3% less than the national average ($903 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Arkansas (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 26.3% workers below the national average ($1,515 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $98 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.2% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $85 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.3% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $29 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 1.1% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled6,436-4.3%
Restaurants and other eating places5,0172.5%
Offices of physicians2,3580.6%
Computer systems design and related services2,0869.9%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers1,993-9.8%
Insurance agencies and brokerages1,760-0.9%
Management consulting services1,5713.6%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores1,5312.0%
Offices of lawyers1,504-0.7%
Residential building construction1,3204.3%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places91,4781.8%
General medical and surgical hospitals39,4210.8%
Management of companies and enterprises34,169-0.9%
Animal slaughtering and processing34,1422.9%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters30,586-3.1%
Temporary help services27,669-1.7%
Offices of physicians26,2321.7%
General freight trucking long-distance25,056-0.8%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing22,781-1.0%
Services for the elderly and disabled18,130-7.0%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Industrial design services$3,27622.1%
Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes$2,94967.7%
Portfolio management$2,747-5.2%
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,7326.4%
Electric power generation$2,546-0.4%
Industrial paper merchant wholesalers$2,4798.5%
Plastics materials merchant wholesalers$2,453-4.3%
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$2,3739.8%
Commodity contracts dealing$2,372-2.3%
Securities brokerage$2,332-2.5%




Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.