Brown cites statistics from the Arkansas Employment Security Department showing that every Arkansas county adjoining the Mississippi River has lost workers. The two notable exceptions being Craighead County (Jonesboro) which is now a food-proccessing center and Crittenden County (West Memphis) which is transforming into an auto parts center.
Brown also cites the loss of over 2,200 workers in Phillips County as a major reason for the proposed merger of the cities of Helena and West Helena, both in Phillips County.
Brown closes with the question of wether or not workers would return to their home counties in the event that a major employer were recruited to establish operations in the Delta.
Having invested several years driving the delta while bringing the good news of technology to small business, I can attest to the need for economic development in these rural counties. I recall the first time I drove from West Helena, which had nearly two miles of thriving commerce, down the winding hill into Helena. Passing old houses in need of restoration and dark, empty commercial buildings, I at once understood the need for economic development and skills training. Sadly, while passing through Helena a few years ago, I noted that several favorite restaurants and numerous small businesses had closed. Undoubtedly, due to the exodus of people.
Any way, read Wesley Brown’s a article at: