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Mississippi is Coming Out Of Recession, Says State Economist

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 20 Sep 2013 09:07am | comments
State economist Darrin Webb is projecting a return to normal 3% a year growth by 2015.

Mississippi's lead economist says the state is continuing its long climb out of recession, and doing so faster than the rest of the nation. State economist Darrin Webb is projecting a return to normal 3% a year growth by 2015.

 Webb says he expects the Mississippi economy to grow by 1.8 percent in this year...that's faster than the 1.6% projected for the rest of the country.

 Speaking to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Webb says the state economy could return to a normal 3% growth rate soon.

 "I think it is good news that we are growing instead of contracting. We have had some hard years. And the fact that we are growing and continuing to grow is positive news. It is not grwoing super strong, but we are seeing steady, modest grow," Webb said.

 According to Webb, 2012 was the first time in five years that the state had net job growth, adding some 25,000 jobs.

 However, he also points out that many of those appear to be part time, low wage, or temporary.

 The projection is a heartening sign for lawmakers on the committee, whose job it is to draw up a budget recommendation for the fiscal year that begins July first.

 House Speaker Phillip Gunn, a Republican, says he thinks the gains in 2012 are connected to Republicans gaining control of both chambers of the state Legislature.

 "I don't think it is any coincidence that beginning in 2012 that Mississippi's growth began to outpace the nation. That Mississippi's job growth began to explode. We just heard today we had 25,000 jobs created last year," Gunn said

 While that is his opinion, Senator Willie Simmons of Clarksdale, one of three Democrats on the Committee, doubts the connection.

 "We have been down so long in a recession that I think we would have seen a turn around regardless of who is in leadership. But I do appreciate the fact that we seem to be working together these days and trying to generate and do some things," Simmons said.

 State Economist Webb declined to make a projection on how much money the state will have to spend, but he does expect it to grow compared to the current fiscal year.

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State economist Darrin Webb is projecting a return to normal 3% a year growth by 2015.


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