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Energy Sector Growth in Mississippi Could Help Bring Down the Unemployment rate

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 30 Oct 2012 04:32pm | comments

Job growth in Mississippi’s energy sector could help lower the state’s high unemployment rate. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports direct energy jobs make up less than three percent of the state workforce, but state leaders believe that could soon grow.

At a job fair in Jackson yesterday, hundreds of Mississippians met with representatives from energy companies looking to expand their workforce.

Fair organizer Adam Todd says jobs in the energy sector also creates careers in other industries.

"You have to have open lines of communication, of course. So there are many, many office, professional-type jobs that are involved in that aspect. You have a lot of companies that specify in transportation of few up and down the Mississippi river. Then you look at these rigs that are off-shore. You have to look at the support staff that gets the rigs up and functioning and operational," Todd said.

One of the longest lines at the job fair was for a company offering positions on off-shore oil drilling rigs, where some Mississippians waited 15 minutes just to pick up an application.

38-year old Sean Gibson of Philadelphia applied to work on a rig because he wants to move on from his job as a table games dealer at a casino.

"Looking for better opportunities. I wanted something more stable basically. At least come back from 14 or 28 days back to normal life. Then back to work again. Instead of working swing shift. Working 8 O'clock to 4 O'clock then sleep most of the day and don't have time to be with the kids," Gibson said.

Milton May with the Ridgeland based oil and gas company Tellus Operating Group says there is room for growth in on shore drilling in Mississippi as well.

"Mississippi is blessed with lots of oil fields, lots of gas fields. And there are so many industries here local that support that business. I really see it as a tremendous boon," May said.

Along with private investment by energy companies, Mississippi has put up 400-million dollars in recent years to bring 'green' energy companies to the state, who are promising to create 45-hundred jobs.

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