Dr. Darrin Webb, Mississippi State Economist and MSU Agricultural Economics alumnus, presented the 2014 Legislative Economic Briefing on January 14. This briefing provided some welcome highlights to the economic situation for the state. In short, the Mississippi economy is growing, but mainly in terms of jobs (income growth continues to be relatively slow). The Index of Coincident Indicators has risen fairly steadily since January 2012 and the November 2013 index was slightly above its pre-recession levels.
However, employment growth has been relatively strong with a 1.71% increase from 2012-2013 (the U.S. growth in the same time frame was 1.6%) and 53 of the state’s 82 counties experienced some job growth. Overall, Mississippi gained almost 19,000 jobs with the largest growth sectors being professional services, construction, and leisure and hospitality. The manufacturing work week length experienced an increase in mid-2011 and has remained higher than pre-recession levels.
However, income growth has not fared as well. While year-over-year percentage growth in real personal income less transfer payments has remained positive since the 4th quarter of 2011, this growth is experiencing declines. Likewise, the growth in real state income tax withholdings has fallen and Mississippi ranks 44th in the growth of wage and salary disbursements.
The University Research Center projects that real output for the state will continue to grow through 201, but at slower rates than were seen in the early 1990s. Much of the recent growth has been due to low-wage and temporary jobs, but it is anticipated that Mississippi should improve as the national economy improves and that the state is on track to reach the revised 2014 estimates.
Dr. Webb’s complete presentation can be viewed at http://www.mississippi.edu/urc/downloads/presentations/Legislative%20Economic%20Briefing%20-%20Online%20Copy.pdf.