Musgrove: Economic upheavals trouble state
By By Steve Swogetinsky/regional editor
Jan. 23, 2002
JACKSON A rapid response team from the Mississippi Development Authority will spend Thursday at the Burlington Industries plant in Stonewall.
The company announced earlier this month that it will be closing the plant by March 31, a move that would put about 850 workers out of a job. The rapid response team will, among other things, help the employees to begin their search for new jobs while helping them sign up for unemployment benefits.
For Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, this has become an all too familiar sight in recent months.
Pointing to the bad economy, NAFTA and other changes in trade laws, Musgrove said displaced workers must be prepared to upgrade their skills for new opportunities, and he expressed confidence that they can.
Musgrove added that his office, the MDA and others would be seeking a buyer for the plant. "The short answer is yes we will be seeking a buyer for the plant.' But there is a lot of work to do on that, and we are already into it," Musgrove said.
The governor declined to comment about Mississippi's efforts to recruit a Hyundai Motor Corp. plant that could bring in 2,000 jobs along with a $1 billion investment. Reports surfaced Tuesday that, after reviewing potential sites in east, central and north Mississippi and Alabama, Hyundai would locate its new plant in Ohio. No official announcement has been made.
Musgrove caught heat from Nissan when it became known in economic development circles that Hyundai was considering a site near the $930 million Nissan facility near Canton. The governor said his administration would put forth the same effort toward any industry or company looking to locate or expand in Mississippi as it did when recruiting Nissan.
He added that the location of any new plant would be the company's decision.
A pay raise for public school teachers is already in the works. Now the state Legislature is looking for ways to fund a pay raise for state employees and teachers at the state's universities and junior colleges.
The governor said he would talk about manufacturers that have announced their plans.