Hispanics growth behind northwest Arkansas booming economy

The latest report to the Arkansas Tech Business Index, May was a good month for the northwest Arkansas economy.

The top spots on the monthly economic activity survey: Bentonville 107.26, Rogers 105.98, Fayetteville 105.57 and Springdale 105.06.

The Latino influence has changed many towns and cities dramatically.

Hispanics make up more than thirty percent of the total population, creating a cultural impact in the area. Latino restaurants and businesses with Spanish signage are now seen in every northwest Arkansas town and city.

Marc Fusaro, an associate professor of economics and the developer of the index, says the region continues to be an economic growth engine and that Bentonville led the way among components of the index: retail, housing, construction and labor.

The financial industry has recognized that Hispanic immigrants are a huge market and is seeking creative approaches to facilitate banking, money transfers, and homeownership. Lending institutions realize that Hispanics demonstrate financial responsibility and are considering new ways to extend loans and mortgages, even without a credit history. Latino home ownership is increasing and may soon match the national ratio of almost seventy percent.

In addition, the monthly index surveys 17 Arkansas cities and in May, Little Rock took the last spot on the list.

Fusaro said that while Little Rock saw strength in retail, its housing index was weak.

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