The peak in manufacturing jobs over the past 20 years in Mississippi occurred during the third year of Gov. Kirk Fordice’s administration. In 1994, jobs in manufacturing industries averaged 261,000, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Since then, average annual jobs in manufacturing have trended down, with two rare exceptions.
In 1998, the third year of Fordice’s second term, average jobs in manufacturing ticked up from 241,800 to 245,500. Then, in 2004, the first year of Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration, average jobs in manufacturing increased from 179,000 to 179,600.
Gov. Phil Bryant and his economic development team are on the verge of achieving another rare uptick in manufacturing jobs. Last year, jobs in manufacturing averaged the same as the prior year, 135,200. Not losing manufacturing jobs was a good accomplishment.
Even better is recent manufacturing job growth. Through June, average jobs in manufacturing totaled 136,300, up a total of 1,100.
“Economic development is the centerpiece of what we do,” Bryant told a Neshoba County Fair audience. “It is the sun in our political universe. And everything else rotates around it: education, health care, transportation. We’ve got to have that growing dynamic economy, and we do.”