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Around-the-water-cooler speculation

MBJ Editorial

It’s been a long, hot summer in Mississippi, and the state’s business community hasn’t slowed down despite the heat and humidity. Enthusiasm and optimism remain the defining themes of the state’s economy even as the country’s leading economic indicators and most-keen observers suggest that we are in for a slowdown.

How would a cooling off, or even a recession, impact Mississippi? What would happen to the booming service sector fueled by gaming development? How would the state’s manufacturers fare? Our farmers? Bookstores, bakeries and banks? These scenarios are open to around-the-water-cooler speculation in offices from Booneville to Laurel, Natchez to Corinth and all points in between.

Perhaps the greatest attention in recent weeks has been focused on the Musgrove administration’s plans to retool Mississippi’s economic development efforts. Conversations, some heated, have been overheard in restaurants. Media attention has been thorough. E-mails and telephone calls have been received from folks outside of the state. All are wondering what’s going on, anyway. What’s the deal with the “Mississippi Miracle?”

Thankfully, with each passing day we move closer to this new, new thing for economic development.

Other hot business topics range from the ongoing saga of Jackson’s telecommunications center and convention center and downtown development to the staggering number of bank robberies in the Capital City of late. Highway funding (really, the lack of it), sales tax collections and judicial elections remain important. What impact could a Bush presidency have on the economy? Isn’t it time for college football?

Admit it. You can feel the excitement. The business buzz. It’s a great time to be hard at work in the Magnolia State.

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