Basic Information about the Arkansas Economy


Overview of the state’s economy

  • Arkansas is the smallest state west of the Mississippi River,` with the exception of Hawaii, and is about one –third of the size of Japan.
  • The state’s total population is 2.9 million, ranking it the 32rd most populous state in the United States (2013) . While 98% of the land is considered rural, and 56% of the population resides within the remaining 2% of land that is considered as urban.
  • Arkansas’ economy has a long agricultural tradition. However, only about 3.4% of the state’s employed work in agriculture. The civilian labor force is approximately 1.33 million. Almost half of workforce in Arkansas is mainly employed in trade, transportation & utilities, administrative related services and education & health services. The states’ unemployment rate is 7.3% in January 2014.

Priority economic sectors of the state government

  • Governor Beebe’s economic priorities are placed such as on (1) increasing the income of Arkansas faster than the national rate, (2) expanding entrepreneurship, especially in knowledge-based ventures, (3) competing better in the global marketplace, (4) increasing the number of workers with post-secondary training.
  • In 2010, President Obama set a goal of doubling U.S. exports. In line with those national priorities, Arkansas has also focused efforts on expanding exports. To that end, the state government is offering various measures, including providing training programs, awards for exports projects.
  • Highway accessibility and infrastructure improvement continue to be a primary factor. The state government implemented measures such as renewing a bond program and a slight sales tax increase in order to cover a shortage of fund.  

Japanese companies in Arkansas

  • The Arkansas Economic Development Commission reports 20 Japanese-owned companies operated in the state. The employment by these Japanese companies is estimated almost 5,500 people (midrange).
  • Japanese companies represented in Arkansas include auto-related companies such as Hino Motors Manufacturing, Denso Manufacturing, and also Kagome producing culinary sauces. Hino Motors Manufacturing produces auto-parts, providing them for its facility in West Virginia, Toyota factory in Texas, and so on.
  • According to the business magazine “Fortune 500 2013”, Wal-Mart Stores, the No.1 sales company in the U.S., is the parent company of Japan’s Seiyu Group.

Basic economic indicators

  • Arkansas’s real GDP in the state is 101 billion dollars, being ranked the 34th in the United States. The real economic growth rate is 1.3% (2012 data). Personal income averages $36,000, at 81% of the national average. Arkansas ranks the 46th among the states in personal income average (2013 data).
  • The seasonal state unemployment rate was 7.3% in January 2014, above the national level of 6.7%. - GDP ratio by industry : manufacturing 14%, administrative related services 14%,real estate 11%, medical services 8%. Agriculture is 2%. (2012 data) (Please refer to the Jurisdictional Information section of our webpage for details.)

Economic relations with Japan

  • The Arkansas Economic Development Commission reports 20 Japanese-owned companies operated in the state, being ranked the 3rd among foreign companies operating in the state. The employment by these Japanese companies is estimated almost 5,500 people (midrange), which ranks No.1 in the state, constituting 20% of total employment by foreign companies.
  • Imports and Exports: export to Japan including manufacturing items, paper products, transport equipments, assembled metal hardware, beverages, cigarettes, agriculture and livestock products. Arkansas exports to Japan average about $2 billion annually. Top imports from Japan include transport equipment, general machinery, primary metals, electronics, and computers. Annual imports from Japan average about $2 billion annually.  

Contact information about State of Arkansas Japan Office:

Japan and Southeast Asia Office
Neal Jansen, Director  (Japanese)
State of Arkansas Japan Office
Toranomon 40MT Bldg., 7th Floor