Making a Living in Carroll County, AR
Before you decide to buy or build a home in Carroll County, you should determine how you are going to pay for that home, and how you will be making a living. While the county does offer a lower cost of living than many areas of the United States, the rate of pay can also be commensurately lower. Most job opportunities in Carroll County are advertised in local newspapers, although many are also filled by word-of-mouth advertising. The average income in Carroll County is less than that of the state of Arkansas average, and yet homes cost more than the state average. This can be a challenge for those looking to secure a home for a large family.
Business and Employment in Eureka Springs and the Western District of Carroll County
Most jobs in the Western District revolve around the tourist trade in Eureka Springs and the recreational businesses around Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake. Workers in the Western District of Carroll County tend to fall into one of three categories. They are either construction contractors, self-employed entrepeneurs engaged in tourism or arts-based trade, or they work seasonal tourism jobs in retail or hospitality. Some seasonal workers collect unemployment benefits during the off-season (winter). Even with a college education, high-paying "white collar" jobs with benefits are scarce, and some residents decide to commute to one of the Metropolitan areas of Rogers, Bentonville, or Fayetteville to secure adequate compensation.
Many of those that relocate to the Western District of Carroll County arrive with a "nest egg" of sorts, to get them through the lack of income often associated with starting a brand new business or finding a new job. None-the-less, the tourist trade can be fickle, and there is quite a bit of resident turnover. It's extremely important to do one's homework, ensuring that your business plan is as "rock-solid" as possible and that it will fill a definite need in the area. Can the area tourism sustain another art gallery, motel, or B&B? Can that seasonal cabin rental by the lake make enough for you to survive the winter off-seasons? Will a town of only 2,000 residents support another laundromat/barbershop/thriftstore or other business catering to the local population? The competition should also be thoroughly assessed, as should the pool of skilled workers available to you. Those looking for employment will do well to find a job *before* you relocate, and to determine what your course of action may be if your income takes a hit during the off-season. This can help to ensure that when you move to the area, you are truly here to stay.
Business and Employment in the Eastern District of Carroll County
The overwhelming majority of workers in the Eastern District are employed at food service plants in Berryville, and Green Forest. In Alpena, construction is the largest industry. The average annual income is less than that of the Western District, but the jobs are generally not seasonal. These jobs are usually advertised in local papers, as well as most of the popular job listing websites like Monster.com. Many are with large corporations that also offer some additional benefits to their employees. Combined with the lower cost of real estate, this can make it easier for the average Carroll County resident to "make ends meet" in the eastern part of the county. The Eastern District also offers numerous agricultural opportunities that do not exist on the other side of the Kings River, where the land is usually too steep and rocky. Starting a business in the Eastern District will require that you intensely study the needs of the local population, to be certain that you are following the rules of supply and demand. It may also take longer to establish a business, as you will likely see less "impulse" shopping from tourist traffic. However, commercial rent will usually be cheaper than in the tourism-driven towns in the western part of the county.