Anyone who thinks jobs are soon coming back in Mississippi is whistling Dixie. State economic research just out shows that the jobless rate for blacks will hit 17.4 percent and 10 percent overall by the end of this year.
More bad news on the job front is that our own state leadership is balking at accepting federal stimulus money that would lessen the hardship of Mississippians out-of-work or having severe cutbacks in their work weeks. These latter ones will suffer the brunt of Gov. Haley Barbour’s refusal to let lawmakers make slight reforms in state unemployment insurance laws so the state can qualify for $56.1 million in stimulus benefits.
As a result, two employment study groups say, hard-hit communities in Mississippi will be denied $120.6 million in economic activity and 39,600 workers who could be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will be adversely affected.
Since more Mississippi blacks than whites stand to be either unemployed or underemployed before expected economic recovery reaches the state in 2014, the case could be made that Barbour’s rejection of funds from the federal stimulus package for workforce relief has an undertone of racial discrimination.