The unemployment rate in Saline County was 5.8 percent at the end of 2012, down from 6.1 percent the previous year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The county is faring better than the state overall, with Arkansas' unemployment rate sitting at 7.1 percent in December 2012.
“I think it's attributed to the quality workforce in Saline County,” said Gary James, director of the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have a heritage of strong, dedicated workers.”
The unemployment rate in the United States was 7.8 at the end of the year, although it has risen to 7.9 percent during the month of January.
Although unemployment numbers are better than the rest of the country, the average weekly wages for an individual in Saline County are lower than the national average, falling between $600 and $699, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is compared to an average wage of $800 per week in Pulaski County or $903 overall in the U.S.
This is not necessarily a problem, James said, because the cost of living is significantly lower in Saline County than in other counties.
“You can raise your family comfortably here,” James said. “The prices are very fair.”