Report Says Katrina Recovery Boosts Mississippi Economy

May 8, 2007

A new report says Mississippi recently has seen its strongest economic growth since the early 1990s, and most of the boost is from Hurricane Katrina recovery.

The “Mississippi’s Business” report comes from the Center for Policy Research and Planning in the state Institutions of Higher Learning. It says that during the six-month period ending in February, the state economy grew 2.7 percent over the same period a year earlier.

“Much of the growth, however, is due directly to Katrina rebuilding,” the report says. “For example, 45 percent of the new jobs created in Mississippi between February 2006 and February 2007 were in Harrison County.”

Harrison is the middle – and the most heavily populated – of Mississippi’s three coastal counties. It is home to most of the coastal casino industry that was hobbled when Katrina swept ashore on Aug. 29, 2005. Several casinos have reopened since last year.

Thousands of people in south Mississippi also are trying to rebuild homes and other businesses that Katrina damaged or destroyed.

One coast construction company executive says his firm has been busy since Katrina, but business is slowing down a bit.

The “Mississippi’s Business” report, issued in April, says between February 2006 and February 2007, almost one-third of the jobs created statewide have been in the leisure and hospitality industry, and another 13 percent have been in construction.

The report also notes: “Many places in the state continue to struggle from job losses that occurred over the past several years.”

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