Arvest Bank has rolled out a regional consumer-sentiment survey for Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Some numbers underline what you might have guessed. People making more money and people who own their homes tend to think things are going better than those who don’t.

But here’s the takeaway for Missouri, and we’ve heard this before: “The Missouri state economy continues to show improvement but at a very slow rate when compared to the rest of the country,” Arvest says. “Employment stands at 3.216 million, still below its peak of 3.305 (million) in December of 2006, but up from the low of 3.105 million in December 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment levels today are identical to the employment levels that existed in December 1999.”

And this: “The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that state personal income levels have increased 2.6 percent since the end of the recession, which translates to real personal income growth of 0.52 percent per annum.”

That’s pretty anemic.

Opening soon

There’s a “Coming soon!” sign for Sinclair’s Restaurant in the spot of the former pizza place at 1402 N. Missouri 7 in Blue Springs. ... Wal-Mart says it’s stocking shelves at its new Neighborhood Market at 35th Street and Noland Road in Independence. A sign on the front of the building says it will open at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 20. ... Gov. Jay Nixon was in Blue Springs the other day, talking to mayors and others about a large tax-and-spending dispute in Jefferson City. He might be showing up again with happier news. “We’ve got a couple more announcements coming,” he said.

Innovation counts

The Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce is getting ready for its second annual Business Innovation Award – $5,000 for a local company to use for a new idea, product or service.

Applicants need to be for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer employees. You don’t have to belong to the chamber (but the chamber of course would love to talk with you about that).

“It’s a win-win. There’s no cost to apply – just a $5,000 prize if you win,” Debra Weilbacher said at last week’s chamber luncheon.

The application deadline is Aug. 15. Go to or call 816-229-8558. The winner is announced in October.

Homes going up

The beat goes on regarding new home construction.

Through the first half of the year, cities in Eastern Jackson County have issued 15.6 percent more permits for single-family homes than they did in the first half of 2013. Lee’s Summit (126 permits in the Jackson County portion of the city) and Blue Springs (101) easily lead the way, though Lee’s Summit is down 24 percent and Blue Springs is up 7 percent. Grain Valley, at 46, is up 207 percent. Independence, at 24, is down 33 percent. Figures were released Tuesday by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Metrowide, single-family permits are up 5 percent, at 2,044. The Home Builders Association points out that the real action is in multi-family construction. Permits for the first six months of the year, 2,292, were the highest for any six-month period since 2001. The association does not break those down by city or county.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business reporter and editor. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or Follow him on Twitter @FoxEJC or @Jeff_Fox.