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Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission

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Jefferson County Background:

Jefferson County contains 913 square miles and is home to over 84,000 people. The County lies between the Arkansas River Delta area and the Ouachita Mountain foot hills.  It includes parts of two geological regions, the West Gulf Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain.  The Arkansas River dissects the County from northwest to southeast dividing it into two unequal portions.

The urbanization of Jefferson County began in the 1830’s when the City of Pine Bluff was incorporated as a City.  Cotton dominated the economic backbone of the County until the 1880’s when two major railroads bisected the county within the City of Pine Bluff.  Between 1880 and the 1930’s, Pine Bluff and Jefferson County grew and developed as a transportation center and trade center for the agricultural and lumbering industry for the mid delta and southeast Arkansas. Beginning in 1940’s with the construction of the Pine Bluff Arsenal and the mechanization taking place in the agriculture sector, the County economy began to be expanded to a point where the industrial manufacturing sector began to play a major in the local economy.  During the 1950’s through the 1980’s, the industrial and manufacturing sector continued to grow and played the major role roll in the local economy of the County.  Since the 1990’s, the County and its cities have been striving to be competitive in the global economic while maintaining its basic sectors of the existing economy.  Currently, with the advance in technology industries,  the County, with the assistance of the Jefferson County Alliance, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College are focused on providing educational programs and technical programs to meet the need for today’s and tomorrow’s employers.

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