Clarke Battles for Jobs

By  | 

More people were working all across Mississippi as the state's unemployment rate improved in August, but nowhere is that improvement more welcome than in Clarke County.

After a number of plant closings, Clarke County had the highest rate of unemployment in the state in 2002, but one year later, things are apparently looking up.

"U.S.A. Fabric is a new entity that's just come to Quitman and we're real hopeful for them," said Mayor Tommy Blackburn.

And the news may get even better as the company, located in the old knitting mill, looks into expansion. It could create even more jobs in the area.

"The state has a lot of different programs available out there and we went to Jackson with them," said Tony Fleming, a Clarke County supervisor. "We're going to be a vehicle for them to apply for this grant loan for expansion."

Officials say they are also in communication with another company and are hopeful they can bring it into the area.

Meanwhile, the South may expect economic growth paired with lagging employment over the next year. That comment came from Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond president J Alfred Broaddus. He was speaking to the Southern Governors Association meeting. Broaddus predicts the South's economy will grow by 4.5 percent over the next four quarters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.