Tecumseh, which manufactures compressors at its plant in the Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South, announced Wednesday that it would invest an undisclosed sum in the plant to help guarantee continuing quality and keep its 350 employees on the job. Lee County and the Mississippi Development Authority are participating in the new investment.
Plant General Manager Joe Kulovitz said the new investment will help Tecumseh adapt to new product demands and market changes, which includes “a lot of different products for a lot of different customers.”
The Northeast Mississippi region’s unemployment rate dropped by a full percentage point in the numbers reported this week, to 10.6 percent, matching the lowest rate for the calendar year. Unemployment peaked at 12.1 percent in July in the 16-county Northeast Mississippi region.
The 10.6 percent rate is of course unacceptably high, but national unemployment news suggests some recovery energy is spreading. The nationwide rate in November was 8.6 percent, down from 9 percent in October.
While an 8.6 percent rate does not reflect full prosperity, it is an improvement and is buoyed by upward movement in the housing market, the stock market, manufacturing and lower gasoline prices.
In addition, Bloomberg Financial News reported on Thursday, “European equities rallied after American jobless claims and consumer confidence were better than expected. The dollar trimmed losses against the euro and 10-year Treasuries advanced. ... Equities gained after the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits decreased to 364,000, the fewest since April 2008, while the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment topped the median economist forecast and climbed to a six-month high.”
Bloomberg reported cautious optimism from Michael Mullaney, who helps manage $9.5 billion at Fiduciary Trust in Boston: “It may not be a bullish case, but the jobs situation is less grim than it was.”
The Associated Press reported that its survey of economists shows a growth rate of more than 3 percent for the October-December period, which would be the highest since 2010.
Those same economists also believe that failure to sustain the Social Security tax cut for 160 million Americans could be problematic in terms of economic response. Congress is at loggerheads internally and with the White House over approving an extension.
We hope the encouraging economic news moves Congress to an extension agreement.