JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -
An expert says Mississippi's economy is growing at a modest pace but continues to lag behind the national average.
State economist Darrin Webb told lawmakers Thursday that Mississippi has "struggled to gain momentum" since 2000.
The state had the second-lowest workforce participation rate in the nation in 2016.
Only 56 percent of Mississippi residents who are 16 are older were working or actively looking for a job. The national average was nearly 63 percent.
Webb says only West Virginia, at 53 percent, had a worse rate than Mississippi.
Mississippi's population is also growing more slowly than that of the nation or the Southeast. Webb says that is a reflection on the economy because people like to live where they have job opportunities.