The Commercial Dispatch, 2/13/8

Mississippi’s economy is expected to outpace the U.S. economy this year – though just marginally. But the state is still on the uphill climb when it comes to population retention, education and job disbursement, said Dr. Phil Hardwick, coordinator of capacity development at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and a strategic planning consultant.

More than half of all jobs in Mississippi are located in only 11 counties.

In terms of job growth, Mississippi is “holding its own,” compared to the rest of the Southeast, Hardwick told the Starkville Rotary Club Monday.

“The state’s employment growth this year will outpace the national by a rate of about 1.3 percent,” said Hardwick. “However it’s going to be slower than it was last year.”