State of the Coast Economy: Growth of the Coast is Lagging

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More than 400 business, community and governmental leaders from across the Coast met at the IP Casino Resort Tuesday to participate in the Inaugural State of the Coast Economy Symposium – a special joint symposium of the Gulf Coast Business Council (GCBC) and the Coast, Jackson and Hancock County Chambers of Commerce.

Tish Williams, Executive Director of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce with John Hairston of Hancock Bank and Chairman of the Gulf Coast Business Council, Ashley Edwards, CEO of GCBC and Anthony Wilson, Mississippi Power Company.

During the session, Gulf Coast Business Council Chairman John Hairston presented detailed regional data regarding the current state of the Coast’s economy and led a discussion on developing a long-term strategy for economic prosperity on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  For a complete copy of the report go to the GCBC Facebook page by clicking here.

The report shows that on the Coast 4,400 jobs were lost from 2010 to 2017.  The over performing industry sectors were in tourism and manufacturing.  Underperforming industry sectors were in health care, transportation, and professional, scientific and technical services.  The report also shows that the most jobs created since Katrina are in the industry sectors with the lowest hourly earnings.  Sales tax growth trends from 2003 to 2016 show that while the Coast counties saw a 28.3% increase, Mississippi counties not including the three coastal counties, saw a 43% increase in sales tax growth.

Leaders are calling for a unified plan to forge a process to break the downward economic cycle and make smart and courageous decisions to positively impact the economy over the next 10 years.  Specifically, the GCBC, Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Agencies want to bring leadership from across the Coast together before the Legislative Session begins to forge a unified plan on how the $750 million in economic damages from the Gulf Oil Spill can be utilized as an investment to make the Coast whole again.  Since 2016, the Legislature has already approved $47,950,000 in projects from this fund.  The business community would like to see a transparent and accountable process put in place to insure that projects funded impact economic development, residential and commercial investments, job creation and increase local sales tax diversions and ad valorem property tax revenues.

If you would like to be part of this grass roots effort, contact the Chamber of Commerce in your county.   In Hancock County, call Tish Williams at 228-467-9048 or email her at


Questions? Please Contact (228) 467-9048