The State of Working Arkansas


Arkansas has all the essential components for success: hardworking people, robust industries, and abundant resources. Our state can thrive, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every Arkansan enjoys economic security and the opportunity to prosper. By implementing the right policy tools, we can build a future that is both more prosperous and equitable for all Arkansans.  

This report explores our state’s economic landscape, from job market trends and labor conditions to the assessment of worker protections and socioeconomic indicators. We also investigate how misguided policy choices have caused Arkansas to fall short of our collective potential. Despite positive efforts such as an increased minimum wage, Arkansas has a recent history of policy choices that have harmed average workers and led to increases in income inequality.  

In recent years, the Arkansas Legislature has reduced government jobs that serve important roles, shifted the tax structure against the interests of working people, constricted workers’ ability to collectively bargain, failed to prioritize affordable child care, and cut protections for workers who lose their jobs. Despite these barriers, smart policy choices can move our economy in the right direction and create opportunities for all Arkansans to thrive. 

Policy recommendations in this report include: 

  • increasing access to quality child care 
  • tax credits for working families
  • stronger laws to protect workers

Inside the Report

This report contains the following sections:

Jobs and Labor

Protections and Benefits for Workers

Worker Compensation

Policy Tools


For questions about this report, please contact AACF Economic Policy Director Peter Gess.