Economist Says Mississippi and U.S. See Modest Growth

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Jackson, Miss.
An expert says Mississippi's economy is outpacing the national economy, though both are growing at a slow rate.

State economist Darrin Webb told lawmakers Thursday that Mississippi had 1.9 percent growth in the first half of 2013 and he expects the rate to be 1.8 percent by year's end.

Webb says the national economy is growing 1.6 percent.
He said he expects state and national economic growth to pick up the next two years. He says many jobs being added in Mississippi are low-wage.

House Speaker Philip Gunn says it's no coincidence that Mississippi's economy started improving in early 2012, when Republicans gained control of both chambers of the state legislature.

Gov. Phil Bryant, in reacting to the report, said Webb's report shows the state's aggressive growth strategy to retain our existing industry base and recruit new global business investment is working.

"So far in 2013, we have announced the creation of 4,827 new jobs. This is a testament to Mississippi’s workforce and to our efforts in fostering a strong business climate," said Bryant. "Economic development is a dynamic team sport, and I appreciate the work of Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen and the entire MDA team for their hard work and dedication.”

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, another Republican, says the national economy is lagging because of Democratic President Barack Obama.