Economics Expert: Walmart Layoffs Likely Won’t Affect Local Economy

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) - Hundreds of local, higher-level Walmart associates lost their jobs Friday (Oct. 2) as executives announced they are restructuring the home office.

Kathy Deck is the director for the Center of Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. She said while the layoffs are difficult for the families affected, they shouldn't have an impact on the local economy.

"It's something that the economy can handle, there will be a bump no doubt but it really doesn't change the path that this region is on," Deck said.

Deck said on average 5,000 to 10,000 new jobs are created each year in Northwest Arkansas.

"A loss of 450 is a big number, but when you put it in kind of the perspective of the overall growth that we expect, it'll knock a couple percentage points off of that," Deck said.

She said as residents of an area that thrives off Walmart, people need to remember that the company's success is important, even if making progress comes with sacrifice.

"It's only natural for them to want to have the right resources in place to meet those strategies, and not necessarily strategies of yesterday or last year," Deck said.

Company officials said the 450 employees who lost their jobs will be paid for two months with benefits. They said they will also receive two weeks of severance for every year worked at the company.