Little Rock is regarded as the economic center of Arkansas. Local, state and federal government, medical facilities and banks are major sectors for employment. Other industries providing a significant number of jobs are computer related services, manufacturing, transportation, education and aviation. The University Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System have a major economic impact on the city.
Agriculture is still an important part of Little Rock's economy. Aircraft and spacecraft combined are a major export for the state. Biotechnology is an emerging industry for the city with the University of Arkansas medical biotechnology research program being a primary factor. A major part of the program is the support the university provides to start-up biotechnology companies.
The Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, situated in Little Rock, promotes scientific research, technology development and business innovation in Arkansas. The program offers financial assistance regarding the transfer and development of innovative technology to companies based in Arkansas. In addition, the Small Business Loan program offers up to 50% of a small business loan to candidates that qualify. The Arkansas Department of Economic Development sponsors the Business and Industry Training Program which creates customized training programs to meet the demands of specific industries. The program focuses on recruiting workers, on-the-job training and pre-employment training.
Noteworthy information about Little Rock: The estimated median household income in 2007 was $43,000. In 2008 the cost of living index was at 86. The national average is 100. For the population over the age of 25 about 35% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Little Rock has received numerous high rankings from notable sources including:
- Little Rock was ranked #22 by Forbes Magazine out of 361 metropolitan areas in their list of best places for business
- Little Rock was ranked as the second most diverse economy in the country by Moody's Investor Services
- Ranked 14th best mid-sized city for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs Magazine
- Placed 21st in cost of living by Forbes
- Ranked 23rd by Forbes for best cities to find a job
- Ranked 27th in cost of doing business by Forbes
- Included in Expansion Magazine's 50 hottest cities for business expansion.
The major employers in Little Rock are shown below:
- Baptist Health Medical CTR
- Arkansas Cancer Research CTR
- UAMS Medical Center
- Medical College Physicians Group
- University Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- University Hospital
- Highway & Transportation Dept
- Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
- Alltel Corp
- St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center
- Arkansas Children's Hospital
- Fidelity Information SVC
- Human Services Department
- Acxiom Corp
- Dillard's INC
- Blue Cross
- Blue Shield
- AT&T Mobility
- Affiliated Foods Southwest
- Dassault Falcon Jet
- Raytheon Aircraft Company
- Fidelity National Information Services
Many major and large corporations have their headquarters in Little Rock including:
- Windstream Communications
- Dillard's Department Stores
- Rose Law Firm
- Stephens Inc
- Metropolitan National Bank
- Central Flying Services, Nuvell Financial Services
Assistance is available for companies in Little Rock by business organizations such as:
- Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Metro Little Rock Alliance
- Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center
The Arkansas Democratic Gazette provides information about the current business activities in Little Rock.