OUR OPINION: Recovery outlook suggests changing some methods

By NEMS Daily Journal

Gov. Haley Barbour’s prescient forecast of slow state-revenue and general recession recovery in 2009 should be remembered in 2012, especially in the still-fragile national recovery and Mississippi’s slight economic decline in 2011.
Barbour, backed by the sound research of the economic forecast experts within the Institutions of Higher Learning’s research arm in Jackson, said Mississippi’s recession recovery would extend into 2014-2015.
His outlook did not sound encouraging, but it was honest and so far has proven accurate.
Mississippi historically has taken longer to recover from nationwide economic downturns, in part because our state’s economy is not as strong as many other states’ which have the ability to craft a quicker rebound.
Barbour’s realism also reinforces the urgent necessity of moving away from politically driven economic decisions and embracing fully long-term polices to strengthen all the factors that help build prosperity, beginning with a smarter workforce empowered by a robust public education system from kindergarten through university graduation.
The Center for Policy Research and Planning at IHL in May 2011 forecast revenue growth, payroll growth ad personal income growth all lower than the projections for the nationwide economy through 2015.
The forecast of rankings compared to the rest of the nation through 2016 also keeps Mississippi near the bottom of most rankings, but notably at seventh in federal spending per capita – $10,481. Mississippi politicians in both parties historically dog-cuss the federal government but federal funds keep our state afloat. The path to decreasing the federal role, rooted largely in poverty, is educational attainment, which can become the key element in a jobs magnet.
Private-sector economists join the state’s economists in predicting that Mississippi will not regain its 2000 employment levels until 2016. Ensuring better jobs replace those lost since 2000 would guarantee some measure of economic progress.
In addition, the 2012 legislative economic briefing included a statement from the universities’ research center that “slow growth is the new norm – Mississippi will be particularly challenged.”
On the positive side, Glassdoor, a social jobs and career community business that helps employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters find and share detailed information, found growing confidence.
Fox News reported that the Glassdoor confidence findings were spread across the age and situational spectrum. The second quarter report found “42 percent of unemployed job seekers believe they can find a job matched to their experience and compensation level … an all-time high since Q1 2009 and an increase of six percentage points when compared to Q1 2012.”
We hope that positive attitude includes Mississippians.