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Study: Confidence in economy holding steady on Coast

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — Confidence in the Mississippi Gulf Coast economy held steady in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the CEO and Business Owners Confidence report from the Gulf Coast Business Council.

“For the second consecutive survey, business leaders perceive a modestly improving economy,” said Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “It will be interesting to track how initiatives — such as the regional destination marketing organization legislation currently in Jackson and national issues — shape the outlook of our local economy in 2013.”

Highlights of the study are:

• The overall measure of business confidence on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was 57 in the fourth quarter, the same as the third quarter. A score of 57 for the third and fourth quarter of 2012, marked the fifth and sixth time in the last seventeen quarters that this level has been achieved. A score of 50 would indicate respondents felt the economy was neither improving nor worsening.

• Forty-three percent of the respondents believe the economy improved from the previous six months. Forty percent of the respondents indicated no change while 17 percent believe the economy worsened over the last six months.

• Local sales tax collections did exceed prior year levels for the latter six months of 2012, suggesting that the local economy is growing.

• Fourteen percent of respondents suggested staffing reductions were possible, compared to 21 percent in the third quarter survey. Twenty-two percent indicated plans to hire additional staff. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security preliminary data for 2012 suggests the Mississippi Gulf Coast did add 5,000 established jobs through November 2012 compared to November 2011.

For the complete report, visit the Gulf Coast Business Council’s website at www.msgcbc.org.

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