Area leads state with 2.7 percent job growth

By BUSTER WOLFE,

The metropolitan statistical area including Lamar County leads the state in non-farm job growth for metropolitan areas, an Area Development Partnership official told the Lamar Count Board of Supervisors last Thursday.

Speaking from the audience, ADP Vice President for Economic Development Todd Jackson – who stayed for the board’s executive session to discuss economic development matters – said the numbers for the area’s job growth are strong.

“Our region is No. 1 in the State of Mississippi with 2.7 percent job growth with more than 1,700 net new jobs added for 68th in the nation,” he said. “It’s a really good, solid dataset that shows Hattiesburg is leading the state. This economy is so diverse that it’s really a good time to be in economic development. There has been growth in everything from healthcare to back office to manufacturing to retail to banking, all that good stuff. I think it is pretty good across the board.”

From May 2016 to May 2017, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 304 metropolitan areas, decreased in 77 areas, and was unchanged in six areas.

Jackson said the area’s attitude toward new and existing businesses promotes growth.

“Hattiesburg (the center of the statistical area) is such a business-friendly city, no matter who is in office,” he said. “It comes from the counties to the municipalities. Everybody wants to see this community grow, wants to see this community prosper.”

Jackson said before the executive session that he planned to discuss upcoming ventures that help the area grow.

“These projects that we are going to talk with them about today are good, solid projects for these outlying communities,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of really good opportunities that could be good for the area.”

Other Mississippi metropolitan areas that were included in the rankings included Jackson and the Gulf Coast. Jackson’s job growth was 0.5 percent with 1,500 jobs, while the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula area’s jobs decreased by 200, or 0.1 percent.

Nationwide, the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment occurred in State College, Pennsylvania (plus-8.0 percent), followed by Sebring, Florida (plus-5.8 percent), and St. George, Utah (plusplus-5.4 percent). The largest over-the-year employment gains occurred in New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania (plus-151,500), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (plus-115,800), and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia (plus-81,900).

The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Casper, Wyoming (minus-4.8 percent), followed by Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana (minus-4.7 percent), and Beckley, West Virginia (minus-3.5 percent). The largest over-the-year decreases in employment occurred in Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana (minus-4,200), Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana (minus-3,000), and Rochester, New York (minus-2,700). 

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