Miss. economy growing, but very slowly

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An expert says Mississippi will have “anemic” economic growth this year and next.

State Economist Darrin Webb says economic conditions in the state and nation have deteriorated the past six months. He says the earthquake in Japan and an increase in oil prices during the spring sparked the uncertainty, and that was made worse by congressional squabbling during the summer about whether to increase the federal debt limit.

Webb spoke Tuesday to members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, who are starting to plan state spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

He estimates Mississippi’s economy will grow only seven-tenths of 1 percent this year and about 1.7 percent in 2012.

He says over the past 20 years, the state averaged 2.7 percent annual economic growth during expansions.