Fort Smith has a metro population of more than 301,000 people and sits on the northwestern edge of Arkansas, on the border of Oklahoma. When it was originally settled in 1817, it was a western frontier military post. It became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase and is named for General Thomas Adams Smith, a commander in the U.S. Army's Regiment of Riflemen. The cost of living in Fort Smith is about 13 percent lower than the national average, so this helps draw individuals and families who want to settle down without spending too much on housing or other expenses. The median house price is $91,500, and a household earns an average of $38,043 per year. Fort Smith has mild winters and humid, warm summers. It also sits near Tornado Alley.
Fort Smith, AR Job Opportunities
Healthcare is a strong industry in Fort Smith, with Sparks Health System employing the largest number of people in the city. Other top employers include Baldor Electric Company, OK Foods, Fort Smith Public Schools, and Mercy Hospital Fort Smith. The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith also provides education jobs to nearly 1,000 residents. Those looking to work in government jobs can find employment options with the City of Fort Smith and other local government agencies.
Fort Smith, AR Employment Trends
Fort Smith is also home to major manufacturing plants such as Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Trane, Gerber, Planters Peanuts, and Georgia-Pacific. Each of these plants provides jobs that help boost the local economy. The unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, and in 2013 the job market actually decreased by half a percent. Less than 16 percent of the population has a college degree, so the job market isn't as competitive in Fort Smith as it is in areas with higher education rates.