Fort Smith Holds Top Spot In Arkansas Tech Business Index

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RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) – A recent study has given Fort Smith the highest business index rankings of any Arkansas city.

The ATBI, which is maintained by the Arkansas Tech University College of Business, measures its ratings based on labor index, housing market index, construction index and retail sales index.

Dr. Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics and developer of the ATBI, explained that the permit for the 8,000-square foot Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine had a positive influence on Fort Smith’s rating for first quarter 2015 and March, 2015.

“This pushed (Fort Smith’s) commercial permit component index up to 134.22, which in turn pulled the construction permit sector index up to 114.88,” said Fusaro. “In addition, the strong retail sales pushed the oft strong Fort Smith retail sales sector index up to 123.49. ”

Data showed that Fort Smith completed first quarter 2015 with an ATBI rating of 108.05, best among the 18 municipalities tracked by the Arkansas Tech Business Index.

The index is based around 100. A city rating above 100 indicates that the city is currently doing better than the state average from 2009 to the present.

Joining Fort Smith with an ATBI rating over 100 for first quarter 2015 were Bentonville (2nd, 104.87), Springdale (3rd, 104.17), Fayetteville (4th, 104.10) and Rogers (5th, 103.42).