April 9, 2004
Eight Mississippi cities are celebrating this week after their recognition for economic growth through development of new and expanded industries. Here is the list: Tupelo, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Columbus, Booneville, Brookhaven, Greenwood and Starkville.
The cities were included among Site Selection magazine's top 100 small cities in America after an assessment of each's new and expanded businesses from 2001-2003.
Tupelo, ranked 18th, has benefited from new businesses such as Thyssen Krupp Fabco, a German business that is an automotive supplier to Canton's Nissan plant; and Davis International, a national supplier to J.C. Penney.
Tupelo's success was attributed to being heavily nonunion and having a very productive labor force.
Greenwood tied with Brookhaven, Booneville, Columbus and Starkville for the 74th position. Plagued by plant closings and the merger of some businesses, Greenwood suffered from more than a decade of job decline, losing an estimated 3,000 jobs due to economic problems. A turnaround began in late 2002.
Hattiesburg attributes its growth to the diversified economy, pro-business climate and leadership in the business community.
And, back here in Meridian? There's still too much inter-and intra-governmental bickering and too much focus on the retail sector at the expense of manufacturing, which produces new goods and better paying jobs. We hope that one day the industrial recruitment initiatives being pursued locally will pay off so Meridian can celebrate economic growth, too.