The Clarion-Ledger, 2/6/9

Officials in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties are anticipating up to 50 percent less residential and commercial growth this year because of the staggering economy.

The decline is an early indicator of a shrinking tax base, lowered demand for construction supplies, fewer jobs and fewer new homes, said Paul Grimes, a professor of economics at Mississippi State University.

“Building permits are one of those really prime indicators that (economic) forecasters look at,” he said.

Although not an exact value for permitted projects, Mississippi Development Authority’s database illustrates the impact of building permits.

Hinds and Madison counties each saw the number of new and expanded businesses fall nearly 40 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to the MDA Web site.