What’s behind the latest Mississippi job numbers?

What's behind the latest Mississippi job numbers?

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Governor Phil Bryant is taking to Twitter to brag on the state’s job growth and opportunities for job seekers.

There’s a record number of Mississippians working.

“We have a wonderful challenge here in Mississippi. We have more job openings than we have people looking for work.”

But what do those numbers not tell us? Marshand Crisler is working with a non-profit to help folks figure out how to take advantage of those jobs.

“What are the credentials, prerequisites in order to obtain employment?" asked Crisler. "That’s where you find we’re having some struggles. And that’s why those jobs incidentally are still available is because they’re having difficulty finding qualified people to hold those jobs.”

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security backs that up, saying that 2/3 of the state’s jobs are “middle skills jobs”, meaning they require more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a college degree. But only 1/3 of the workforce has those skills.

“There are a number of middle skills jobs that pay more than the kinds of jobs we normally think a college graduate gets,” explained MDES Executive Director Mark Henry.

It’s not government jobs that are popping up. It’s in the private sector. And the Mississippi Center for Public Policy says that’s encouraging.

“That’s how you get sustained economic growth is when you have less dependence on the government related jobs and when government is playing a smaller percentage in the amount of our economic activity,” said MCPP President and CEO Jon Pritchett.

A recent report released by the Fraser Institute shows how the state’s job outlook stacks up against other states, including with those private sector jobs.

“We’re doing better than a lot of the states. Tennessee is doing really well. Texas is doing well. But when we compare ourselves to our next door neighbors, we’re comparing favorably on the job side.”

Another interesting note, more people are looking for jobs. That means some folks who had given up are back on the job hunt.

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