Forecasts from the respected Kiplinger group of economic analyses predict continuing growth and expansion through the second half of 2015 for the American economy, and encouragingly Mississippi is not ranked in the bottom half of growth but almost squarely in the center of a 3.7 percent nationwide forecast.

The state’s rank was developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which ranks Mississippi 20th, much higher than many states whose reputation usually is for higher growth.

The council is comprised of individual legislators who pay dues, and their interest is an accurate forecast that can be worked with in the states from which the legislator-members hail.

The Kiplinger figure, interestingly shows a drop in unemployment by year’s end to 5 percent, a remarkable figure considering how high joblessness was in the years of the Great Recession.

The Kiplinger report also forecast 3 percent inflation in 2016, up from 1.5 percent in 2015.<b>

</b>Kiplinger also shows business spending increasing by 4 percent in the coming year.

Retail sales for the rest of 2015 and family housing starts both are forecast upward.

While the forecast growth matches the 3.7 percent in the second quarter, Kiplinger believes the year will see a 2.5 percent growth overall, slightly ahead of 2014.

The Kiplinger forecast also cites strong retail growth in the economic resurgence, which is good news generally for retail centers like Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth, Starkville and Columbus, plus elsewhere in the nation.

Kiplinger reports, “Also helping: A ramp-up of construction activity, including home building. The housing market is having a good year ... .”

Third-quarter growth should slow from the strong second quarter. Growth is likely to pick up again in the fourth quarter.

Jobs growth remains reasonably strong but from a peak from a few months ago.

Kiplinger’s editors’ wrote, “There is less slack in the labor market, which sets the stage for wage increases later. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 percent, close to the level the Fed defines as being consistent with full employment.”

Kiplinger reported, “We expect the Federal Reserve to bump up short-term interest rates by a quarter-point at either their October 28 meeting or their December 16 meeting. But we don’t see a second hike until several months later. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that increases are not going to happen at every meeting, as they did under former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan between 2004 and 2006. She wants to be able to assess the effect of each hike before the next one.”

The overall Kiplinger picture suggests Mississippians remain optimistic and poised to take advantage of growth opportunities in many sectors.

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