Blueprint survey: Respondents guardedly optimistic

JACKSON — A detailed report on the results gathered during in the Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Mississippi Road Show is complete. More than 2,000 business and community leaders from throughout the state took part in the electronic voting process at the face-to-face meetings held in 20 different communities. An additional 1,000 participated in an online survey, which asked the same questions.

Nearly eight out of ten leaders (79 percent) believe Mississippi can experience the same type of economic success as other high-growth Southern states.

“With a great level of participation in 20 communities across the state, this report gives us a clear picture of our state’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education and Chair of Blueprint Mississippi. “This will help us tremendously as we build a blueprint to a brighter future through collaborative efforts with business leaders, economic developers, university researchers, and local and state elected officials.”

While those surveyed are encouraged by what the future holds, only 51 percent currently believe Mississippi’s children will be able to find good jobs in Mississippi when they are ready to enter the workforce. Also, when looking at Mississippi today, one-third see Mississippi as an emerging growth state, while another third view Mississippi as a state that can’t escape negative perception. However, most believe in 10 years Mississippi will be either a newly emerging growth state (45 percent) or a hot economic development location (29 percent).

Mississippi’s recent success in economic development is evident in the polling, as 69 percent of the participants see Mississippi as moderately or very competitive in creating jobs, when compared with surrounding states.

The report breaks down regional differences in both opportunities and needs. Advanced manufacturing ranked highest among categories for growth opportunities with 34 percent. An additional 26 percent believe the state is in position to take advantage of its natural resources. Education and workforce training were listed as top needs in all regions.

For more information, including the full report and detailed regional results go to: www.blueprintmississippi.com.

Source: IHL

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