The chamber conducts two job fairs annually, typically in May and October, which attract between 50 - 120 hiring companies and anywhere from 1,500 to 3,200 job seekers depending upon current economic conditions. However, as we indicated in press coverage of our most recent event on October 12, we believe there are some positive signs of recovery for job seekers:
Job Fair Turnout Shows Improving Economy (40/29 News)
Job Fair Offers Positions, Training (40/29 News)
Job Fair Attracts Unemployed, Those Seeking Better Pay (The Morning News)
Economic indicators continue to improve. At the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, our economic development inquiries have been steady or up over 2008 every single month year to date (January - September 2009). This includes new business inquiries, economic development prospects, individuals looking to open franchises, small businesses and home-based businesses.
Northwest Arkansas remains an outstanding and desirable place to go into business as well as to live, play and raise a family. We're pleased to see progress in historic downtown Rogers as well - downtown Rogers merchants are banding together better than we've ever seen, and there is a new attitude of optimism in downtown Rogers spurred by efforts from Main Street Rogers (Mocha on Main Street, the new butterfly and hummingbird park on First Street, downtown intersection improvements), as well as efforts by merchants (third Friday Twilight Walks are thriving).
We're serving more diverse business inquiries than ever, and our diversity program continues to gain momentum. Most recent U.S. Census Bureau numbers still place Rogers at approximately 31% Hispanic or Latino, and we are assisting many of these individuals with start-up businesses (most popular: restaurants, auto detail and repair, child care, salons) as well as translation, outreach and referral services.
As you may recall, in June 2009 Forbes magazine ranked the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA (metropolitan statistical area) at #2 on its list of the best places in the nation for recession recovery (http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/09/recession-economy-cities-business-beltway-recovery-cities.html). We couldn't agree more, although we think Northwest Arkansas is a fantastic place even without talk of recessions!