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Barbour: Musgrove job numbers faulty

By Staff
from staff and wire reports
Sept. 10, 2003
JACKSON Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Republican challenger Haley Barbour are battling over job statistics, with Barbour's camp saying the governor is using inflated numbers.
Barbour campaign spokesman Quinton Dickerson said that television ads the Musgrove campaign is airing attempt to mislead voters about the governor's record.
Musgrove's first TV ad of the fall campaign season began airing last weekend. The ad says "56,000 new, quality jobs" have been created since Musgrove took office in January 2000.
The ad mentions the Nissan auto manufacturing plant that opened near Canton in May and the expansion of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
But U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Mississippi lost 48,600 manufacturing jobs from January 2000 through June 2003, the most recent month for which complete numbers were available.
Dickerson said the state has had a net loss of 34,600 jobs during the Musgrove administration.
Musgrove said his campaign ad is based on statistics from the Mississippi Development Authority the state's chief economic development agency and does not take into account the number of jobs lost.
He said MDA figures show the state has created 56,000 new jobs, has had more than 2,200 plant expansions or developments and has generated more than $15 billion of investment while he has been governor.
At the same time, he said, Barbour was a Washington lobbyist for the Mexican government to help implement the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Musgrove said Mississippi has lost 41,000 jobs to Mexico because of NAFTA.
Barbour has said his lobbying firm Barbour Griffith &Rogers Inc. was paid by the Mexican government to work on cross-border trucking issues between the United States and Mexico. Lobbying disclosure records show the firm was paid $35,000 a month.
Barbour has been running television commercials since early this year. His latest ad focuses on the number of manufacturing jobs lost in Mississippi over the past four years and says Mississippi can do better with strong leadership.
President Bush is speaking at a $1,000-a-plate Barbour fund-raising luncheon Friday in Jackson. Musgrove said he will spend Friday campaigning.
Musgrove had raised $5.5 million and Barbour had raised $5.3 million through late July, the last time campaign finance reports were filed. The next reports are due Oct. 10. The general election is Nov. 4.