JB Hunt Plans to Add 1,000 Jobs

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell announced Wednesday that it will add 1,000 jobs in Arkansas over the next six years.

The publicly traded trucking and logistics firm (Nasdaq: JBHT) announced the move during an event at its corporate headquarters, where it broke ground in September on a new 133,000-SF, six-story office tower scheduled to open in spring 2017.

Preliminary plans for the new office tower were made public earlier this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who gave the announcement, said he spends a lot of time trying to attract new businesses to come to Arkansas. The state is providing incentives for the expansion, through six years of annual cash rebates of 3.9 percent of payroll associated with the new jobs and a sales tax refund on machinery and equipment associated with expansion.

“What we have to emphasize is that it is about our homegrown entrepreneurs, our businesses here that are the foundation, it is the dynamic engine that is going to create the growth that we want in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “J.B. Hunt Transport represents one of those cornerstones.

“We together recognize the importance of partnering with JB Hunt Transport, so we’re glad to participate in this project.”

Hutchinson referred to Mike Preston, the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission who attended Wednesday’s news conference.

“For any state, 1,000 news jobs is a significant impact,” Preston said. “Most states could call that a game-changer. We’re excited to be a part of that.”

J.B. Hunt executives did not say how much the new building’s construction would cost, nor did they share details about the kind of jobs it would add and did not make executives available for interviews. CEO John Roberts, who spoke at the conference, said the company would bring current employees from several divisions to work at the building, the company’s seventh in Lowell.

“Growth is in our blood,” Roberts said. “That leads us to do things like build new buildings. We see in this new building a chance to bring our business services together. Today those businesses are a little bit scattered.

“In addition to the need for space was the need to bring our business minds together and do more collaboration. The building was designed in that order. It creates a lot of buzz and energy around here for us.”

Hutchinson said the building would be an “incredible addition.”

Article Source: Arkansas Business

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