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Mississippi manufacturing leads downturn in state economy



Mississippi’s economy slipped again in April primarily because manufacturing workers’ average workweek fell below 40 hours for the first time in six years.

The “manufacturing employment intensity index” is one of three indices that declined in April, sending the Leading Index of Economic Indicators (MLI) downward, according to a monthly report issued by the Institutions of Higher Learning’s University Research Center.

Mary Willoughby, chief of labor market information for the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, said in an email that the manufacturing “wage estimates are based on employer responses from a probability based survey. “

“We determined that the drop was not caused by a single event.  In both durable and nondurable manufacturing there were numerous respondents in the sample that reported shorter workweeks for production workers.  The data for most of those respondents was coded as “Shorter Scheduled Workweek”.  We saw one respondent’s data coded “Temporary Shutdown.”

Mississippi Manufacturing Association President and Chief Executive Jay Moon said he was not familiar with the data and that a month did not constitute a trend.

The employment index is 7.7 percent lower than it was a year earlier, the University Research Center reported.

Another contributor to the drop in the MLI was residential building permits, which declined 4.7 percent, the second straight month of decrease.

Still, the MLI in April was 2.3 percent higher than a year earlier, but that is the smallest year-over-year increase since September.

Manufacturing employment stood at more than 142,000 in April, making it the second-largest sector in the state’s economy, which employed more than 1.2 million that month. Trade, transportation and utilities was the largest at more than 230,000.


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About Jack Weatherly


  1. People are leaving the state, every new project is linked to some political campaign. They announce some new massive project coming to the area spends millions on infrastructure to accommodate the coming business then the deal falls out.

    Wages are also very low, it’s hard for any new workers to make a decent income. You can flip burgers in a A/C cooled building for $7.75 or work outside all day in the 120+ heat index summer to make $9.25 lifting 40 pound blocks all day.

    Lived in the state for 22 out of the 26 years I’ve been alive. The pay sucks, the businesses suck, there is no job security, and no loyalty to the companies because of it.

    You can start out there making $8-$9 where pretty much any other state would pay you $15. Living expenses are also far to high for the base pay.

    Everyone starts out at the bottom I can understand that are respect it if you had job security. No one wants to make pennies hoping in 3-4 years you can make an acceptable pay. Most companies do not keep you around as pretty much all the work there is seasonal.

    Underwhelming pay, no job security, and right to work hurts everyone who works blue collar jobs. I love this state and the people there very much but people are tired of being seen as “seasonal human resource” for under whelming pay.

    All my uncles and my father say the same story and I’ve seen it for the past 8 years I’ve worked there. You start out with poor pay promised hours and the possibility of better pay. The promises never come people leave looking for the next “big business” to come hoping it will be the one. It repeated over and over and over.

    Right to work hurts employee moral. Being called seasonal human resource hurts moral, low pay hurt moral. It effects employee work ethics.

    Worked at the same meat packing factory for 6 years watched people come and go every day. No one ever moved up, management jobs where very limited and anything about that way cooperate which is almost always out of state.

    You walk into that job starting at the bottom and no one ever moves up. The people who stay settle they are OK with good enough.

    Moved to Iowa not even 3 days later I get the same exact kinda job I had but making an extra $7 a hour and the job is more advanced. They actually have their stuff together. It makes work more stream line and you feel better about your job.

    I work 12 hours a day 6 days a week not only do I feel better at this job I feel more optimistic about my job. I feel like an employee and not a “human resource”.

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