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Author Archives: Becky Gillette

MBJ FOCUS: Mississippi ranks last in pay equality for women

By BECKY GILLETTE Mississippi ranks last in the U.S. when it comes to pay equity for women. “We are now the only state in the nation without some equal pay protections in our state law,” said Tracy DeVries, executive director, Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. “Alabama legislators passed a state equal pay bill last session.”  According to the Institute for Women’s ...

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COVID-19 not yet impacting visitation and conventions on Coast and Jackson

By BECKY GILLETTE The situation with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. is rapidly changing. An example is the number of states with confirmed cases went from 19 on March 6 to 34 states and the District of Columbia on March 9. There is great concern about nose dives in the U.S. stock markets, and how fears of ...

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Employers should come up with a consistent and effective plan for a possible epidemic

By BECKY GILLETTE Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have moved closer geographically to Mississippi with the recent announcement of cases in Tennessee and Georgia. Thirty states had reported cases of COVID-19 as of March 9 with a total of 500 cases. While some health officials hope that the virus will die out with warmer weather, which ...

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UPDATED — Few businesses untouched by concerns about COVID-19 virus

By BECKY GILLETTE As of March 3, the total number of people in the U.S. who had tested positive for the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) was 22, with three of those travel-related and nine believed to have spread person-to-person. The country had experienced its first two deaths. Those numbers don’t include the three cases from Americans who had traveled to Wuhan, ...

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STOCKS AND CORONAVIRUS — Could this be a time to buy rather than panic?

By BECKY GILLETTE While the steep declines in the stock market in the past week have been scary, they aren’t unprecedented, said Stacey Wall, CEO of Pinnacle Trust in Madison. Usually the markets bounce back quickly. “In fact, in the past six day-to-day declines of 3 percent or greater, the market rebounded higher a month later,” Wall said. “Times like ...

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Home builder confidence high, but cost and availability of homes are issues

By BECKY GILLETTE The current mood of home builders in Mississippi and across the country is better now than it has been since the Great Recession, said David Saulters, immediate past president of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi (HBAM) and owner of Sigma Companies and RE-MAX Real Estate Partners in Hattiesburg. “It took a long time for the construction ...

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EXIT INTERVIEW — McCullough’s tenure at MDA marked by record economic growth

By BECKY GILLETTE The five years Glenn McCullough, Jr., served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) were marked by some of the best economic growth in the state’s history. McCullough, who retired to the private sector at the end of January, credits the success to teamwork. “When I arrived at MDA in 2015, we focused on optimizing ...

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Banking Commissioner Corley will retire after three decades

By BECKY GILLETTE Banking Commissioner Charlotte Corley, Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (DBCF), has seen many changes in banking over the past 34 years. At the end of January, she will be retiring and handing the reins to Deputy Commissioner Rhoshunda Kelly. Corley grew up in Gulfport where her father worked for Hancock Bank. In high school, she ...

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Closure of rural bank branches a concern, but Mississippi has factors that ameliorate that trend

By BECKY GILLETTE The Federal Reserve Board recently produced a report showing that half of the U.S. counties studied lost bank branches between 2012 and 2017, “with some predominantly rural counties experiencing considerable declines. The deeply affected rural counties tended to be less economically well off and have residents with lower levels of education. They also had a greater proportion ...

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Mississippi Coding Academies producing graduates whose talents are in big demand

By BECKY GILLETTE Far too many Americans end up with staggering amounts of college debt for a degree that might not allow them to find a good job. One in four Americans has student loan debt owing an average of $37,172. An alternative path is the Mississippi Coding Academies, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2017 that provides a free 11-month ...

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