Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bill Crawford: State Economy Struggles

“State economists lower forecast for remainder of year,” read the Mississippi Business Journal headline on October 27th. “Mississippi’s state economists have pulled back on an already-weak economic forecast for the rest of 2016, projecting that the state’s economy will grow only 1.5 percent instead of the 1.6 percent previously predicted,” said the story.

“U.S. economy roars back, grew at 2.9% in third quarter,” read the Wall Street Journal headline on October 30th. “It was the strongest quarterly reading in two years after three straight quarters of sub-2% growth,” said the story.

Hmmm.

Our leaders in Jackson like to blame Mississippi’s weak economy on the "Obama economy." Looks like the Obama economy did okay outside of Mississippi. But none of this has much relevance to Mississippi’s economic situation.

The simple fact is that Mississippi’s economy underperforms because, over time, our income and employment have been stagnant, eroding our economic engines in many communities.

In August Bloomberg.com reported Mississippi had the greatest drop in real median household income among all 50 states from 1999 to 2014. It was down a whopping 23.1%. (Real median household income is adjusted for inflation.)

More recently, real median household income has flatlined. It was $40,061 in 2010 and slightly up at $40,593 in 2015.

Similarly, total employment was basically flat. In 2010 employment averaged 1,170,900 vs. 1,189,700 for 2015, a meagre 1.6% total increase over five years.

Oh, but Gov. Phil Bryant in August told the Vicksburg Post that nearly 50,000 Mississippians were working today that did not have jobs in 2011.

Well, not exactly. In August 2016, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security reported the number of employed Mississippians was 1,197,800. In August 2011, the department reported the number of employed Mississippians was 1,204,100. Uh, that’s a 6,300 drop.

Now, those figures are the true measure of the number of Mississippians working.

However, if you look at the number of people employed in Mississippi in non-agricultural jobs, i.e., business and government, whether residents of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana or elsewhere, there were 1,141,600 employed in August 2016 vs. 1,088,800 in August 2011. That difference is 52,800 to the good.

So, between 2011 and 2016, an additional 50,000 people were working in Mississippi, but they either weren’t Mississippians or, less likely, they had transitioned from farm jobs to business or government jobs.

And that hits at the crux of the problem. We need lots more Mississippi residents with jobs and better incomes.

Now comes a new study from the Mississippi State Extension Service showing 57 counties in Mississippi lost population from 2014 to 2015. Negative net migration, as it is called, is a negative economic indicator. People move to booming places, but away from stagnant places.

In the same vein, those employment reports mentioned above showed Mississippi’s total labor force decreased by 65,000 from August 2011 to August 2016.

Hmmm.

Flatlined income and employment. Population and labor force declining. Not surprising most politicians look to place blame elsewhere. An extraordinary few might own it and fix it.


Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I remember right, every year they have to lower the fore cast. Politicians are given the right data but do not accept it. They increase the budget then have to lower it later. Just a common thing in Ms.

Anonymous said...

Someone has to be last in any contest.

Since it hard to change facts and the actual facts often suck, consultants frequently recommend a messaging reset for better press releases.

In this case, reframe it as a race to the bottom, or a go slow race. Then Mississippi can claim #1 status.

Anonymous said...

Did I read correctly that the first 2 quarters of this fiscal year budget (began in summer) show we are down $21 million and $28 million?

Anonymous said...

Your 'Bill Crawford' threads have quickly become irrelevant. Once a month or so might get some readership. Weekly is bull shit. The man has no demonstrable resume and is boring. Next?

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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