Northwest Arkansas has been experiencing an economic boom, which many attributes to the oil and gas industry. The economy of Northwest Arkansas is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country, and many think that this is because of the oil and gas industry. The price of oil has increased from $40 per barrel in December 2014 to a 10-year high of $106 per barrel in June 2017, so clearly, oil is a major factor contributing to the economy of Northwest Arkansas.
However, does the oil and gas industry drive the economy of Northwest Arkansas? Are the people who live in the area much richer because of it? Is there anything unique about the economy of Northwest Arkansas that makes it stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a look.
Living In One Of The Most Luxurious Regions In America
If you live in Northwest Arkansas, you’re living in one of the most luxurious regions in America. The area has a high quality of life, which is largely due to an incredible number of residential properties boasting spectacular views of the beautiful Ozark Highlands. As a visitor, you’d be hard pressed to find a more wonderful place to live. It’s no wonder that many people are moving to the area, looking for homes for sale in northwest Arkansas, seeking both investment and retirement opportunities in one of America’s most beautiful regions.
Higher Education Levels
Another appealing aspect of moving to Northwest Arkansas is the level of education. The area has a higher percentage of individuals with Bachelor’s degrees than the national average. In fact, 17.7% of the people in Northwest Arkansas hold a Bachelor’s degree, compared to the 13.7% average for the country. Additionally,12.8% of the population of Northwest Arkansas has a graduate degree, compared to the 9.9% national average.
More Than Meets The Eye
One of the most unique aspects of the economy of Northwest Arkansas is its diversity. The area is home to a variety of businesses, many of which are energy-related. In other words, the economy of Northwest Arkansas is highly varied, much more so than the national average. For instance, the furniture industry in Northwest Arkansas is quite large, employing more than 15,000 people and generating more than $12 billion in economic activity.
On the other end of the scale, you’ll find oil production companies, electrical equipment manufacturers, and even an international airport. All of these sectors contribute to the regional economy, creating numerous opportunities for those who live and work in the area.
Will The Wealthy Ride The Boom?
Some have theorized that as the cost of oil continues to rise, the ultra-wealthy will move away from investments in traditional vehicles (such as stocks and bonds) toward other more stable and less volatile investment opportunities. The oil and gas industry in Northwest Arkansas is still quite unpredictable, so if you’re an ultra-wealthy investor, perhaps you’re better off staying away for now.
Traditional Vehicles Still Reign
Although newer, more innovative companies and industries have sprung up in the wake of the oil and gas boom, such as data centers and cloud computing, the traditional vehicles of stock and bond ownership continue to be popular in the area. In fact, nearly all investment opportunities available in Northwest Arkansas are considered to be safe and secure, which may explain the appeal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ all trade at record highs. Some have even speculated that we’re now in a “goldilocks” market scenario, where the cost of oil is just right for the economy to function smoothly.
How Is Northwest Arkansas Different?
Well, for one thing, it is physically smaller than the other parts of the state. At 419 sq. miles, it is about a quarter of the size of the state. The area is heavily forested, which results in it having one of the highest percentages of green space in the state. There is also a lot less money circulating in Northwest Arkansas. The economic development in the area is somewhat lower than the state as a whole.
The average person in Northwest Arkansas struggles to make ends meet. This is particularly true of the young professionals who have graduated from college but are unable to secure high-paying jobs. Many end up returning to school, having to settle for low-paying service jobs.
The area’s under-employed residents are also at a greater risk of poverty. The small, local business community struggles to provide much in the way of economic development opportunities. The majority of businesses in Northwest Arkansas, particularly in the smaller towns, operate on a tight budget. Many restaurants in the area are forced to close down due to lack of sales, and the small-town feel leaves much to be desired.
We hope you found this blog post Is Northwest Arkansas Rich? useful. Be sure to check out our post How to Avoid Two Mortgages After Buying a New Home for more great tips!
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