Note: The following is an opinion column provided by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.
As a lifetime Mississippian, I’m proud of the continued advancements of our beloved Magnolia State. Amid a pandemic and volatile economy, Mississippi has continued to live up to its resilient reputation and expand its illustrious resume.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.6 percent to 4.6 percent in just one year. The two-point decline marks our lowest unemployment rate since 1976. However, this record low should not be a surprise to those who have followed our business and economic data.
In 2021 alone, there were 63,093 new businesses formed in Mississippi, which is a 22 percent increase from 2020 and a vigorous 119 percent increase from the 28,869 new businesses formed in 2019. Let’s be clear; this growth is not solely due to federal COVID-19 relief dollars. Facts such as being the most affordable state in which to live and being a top-five state for business incentive programs are driving Mississippi’s free market.
Another enhancement to our state’s economy has been our Tackle the Tape initiative. Through this initiative, we partner with Mississippi businesses, state agencies, legislative leaders, and citizens to help cut regulations that hinder job growth and innovation. Our success continues to receive national recognition and sets the standard for regulatory reform. While we cannot quantify the number of new jobs created as a result of the 70+ votes I have cast as a member of the Occupational Licensing Review Commission, we can be certain of the ever-growing list of individuals who have received assistance with overcoming some form of red tape. The driving force behind each vote remains the same– foster an environment where businesses and Mississippians can prosper.
With a thriving commercial economy, competitive labor market, meaningful measures to rid burdensome regulations, and a meaningful personal income tax cut on the horizon, Mississippi is ripe for business.