The Sun Herald, 3/13/8

Despite the dismal outlook of the national economy, the U.S. and the Gulf Coast are in good shape, presenters at the 41st Hancock Bank Gulf Coast Economic Symposium said Wednesday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center. About 1,000 people attended the event.

“I think 2008 will be a breakout year in the recovery,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. “Mississippi is enjoying an unprecedented growth.”

Swoope was one of three scheduled speakers. His words were echoed by Gov. Haley Barbour, who spoke at the end of the symposium.

“Mississippi’s economy is the strongest it has been in its history,” Barbour said. “Who would have dreamed that the worst natural disaster ever would be followed by a gigantic reconstruction boom?”