State economic outlook not so wonderful - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

State economic outlook not so wonderful

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It wasn't the best of news for the Magnolia State Tuesday morning as the state's economic outlook was on full display.

"There's a general consensus that we're looking at a slow growth economy," said state economist, Dr. Darrin Webb.

Webb says that slow growth is attributed to a lot of internal and external factors, from state employment levels to a European recession.

"We're in a global economy now, so what happens in Europe matters a lot," said Webb.

Senior economist Greg Daco with IHS Global Insight says he expects the U.S. economy to grow at about two percent.

"That is good, that is not excellent. That is not the three percent range we were accustomed to prior to the recession, but it's better than growing at a one percent or even in being in contraction territory," said Daco.

There are some bright spots amid all the cloudy conditions, mainly from the consumer sector. The housing market and retail sales are both seeing increases in Mississippi, which Daco says illustrates an upswing in consumer confidence on the state and national levels.

"We're seeing consumer confidence at very high levels, the highest levels we've seen since the recession," said Daco.

Confidence may be up, but Webb says a big economic concern is the state's employment levels.

"We've seen five years of decline. If we continue on the course where we are right now for 2012, this will be the fifth year that employment is less than it was the prior year and that's just never happened before," said Webb.

Employment levels aren't expected to get back to where the were in the year 2000 until the year 2018. In the meantime, economists will be shifting their predictions as economic conditions continue to change.

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