Dec 30, 2022

by: Lynn Lofton, Mississippi Business Journal

As a new year approaches, it's a good time to reflect on events and accomplishments of 2022 with the Mississippi Development Authority. MDA Deputy Executive Director Laura Hipp says the state has experienced a phenomenal year in terms of economic development, with companies announcing significant new investments in communities throughout the state.

“Additionally, through these investments, thousands of Mississippians will be given opportunities to work for these companies in good-paying jobs,” she said.

Listing the year's highlights, she focused on companies such as Steel Dynamics, Nissan and Artemis. “The recent announcement from Steel Dynamics' $2.5 billion investment is the largest corporate investment project in the state’s history,” she said. “It will create 1,000 jobs to support the growth of its Golden Triangle campus, which includes the addition of a $1.9 billion aluminum flat rolled mill. That is certainly a highlight of 2022.”

Earlier this year, Nissan announced the company will partially convert its Canton facility to begin production of two all-new, all-electric vehicles. Nissan is investing $500 million in the project and retraining 2,000 team members who will produce the new models. Once production begins, Nissan’s Canton facility will be a center for the company’s U.S. EV production.

“Nissan has invested significantly in its Canton operations since opening in 2003, and this announcement is a sterling example of just one of the many global leaders that have found incredible success in Mississippi,” Hipp said.

Also in 2022, Artemis I successfully launched, and thousands of Mississippians played crucial roles in its mission to the Moon. Numerous companies produced components for the new rocket, and engine and propulsion systems testing for Artemis were performed at Stennis Space Center.

“Mississippi has long been imperative to our national space program, and our state also will be key to the future of the space program as we set our sights on returning humans to the Moon and eventually Mars,” the MDA official said. “I think these are three great highlights that really sum up what a tremendous year 2022 has been for our state.”

More than 3,000 new jobs have been announced through company expansions and new companies locating in the state. “Of course, some of these new jobs require special training, and our partners at Accelerate Mississippi are prepared to work with employers and our colleges to ensure Mississippi’s workforce is ready to hit the ground running and do the absolute best job they can so these companies can enjoy long-term growth and success in our state,” Hipp added.

Hipp says the state had an extremely varied mix of companies choose to locate or expand in Mississippi in 2022. “We are a state where any industry can find success. Over the last year, however, we have welcomed several new agribusiness/timber-related announcements throughout the state.”

Those include Enviva, Carpenter Pole and Piling and CLAW Forestry as a few of the companies that have announced new investments in the timber-related sector. She says agribusiness is a major economic driver for Mississippi, and MDA doesn’t anticipate its growth slowing down any time soon.

Although the Golden Triangle landed the biggest economic development project in 2022, the region also landed several other premier projects, including Columbia Industries and Altex Tube. “However, companies have been added in communities across the state from DeSoto County to the Gulf Coast,” Hipp said.

Looking ahead to what 2023 may bring and which sector or area may be specifically targeted, Hipp said a number of electric vehicles and related components being built in the United States will increase in the future. “With our strength in the automotive sector, it makes sense that Mississippi plays a role in that future. Also, the Blue Economy on the Coast is a growing sector with the work being done by the University of Southern Mississippi and innovative companies like Ocean Aero. We will surely see new companies locate around that cluster,” she said. “With diverse industries contributing to the growth of Mississippi’s economy each year, MDA is confident we will continue our upward trajectory in 2023 and beyond.”

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