Mississippi is in a deep recession and can expect to fully recover no earlier than 2023, State Economist Dr. Darrin Webb said in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today. Photo courtesy Mississippi Legislature
Mississippi is suffering the effects of a COVID-19-induced recession, deeper than any since the end of World War II, and can expect a long recovery even after it ends, State Economist Dr. Darrin Webb said at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing this morning.
Webb shared projections anticipating unemployment in Mississippi reaching a peak of around 20% by the third quarter of 2020, but expressed confidence that the “deep recession” would not linger after the crisis abates, anticipating high growth rates for the state in 2021 and 2022.
Still, the state economist cautioned that the economic outlook for Mississippi was deeply negative, and that traditionally the state lags behind the U.S. in economic recoveries. Webb suggested Mississippi would recover by 2023 “at the earliest.”
The Mississippi Legislature returned to the Capitol building today, with the Senate gaveling in at 10 a.m. just ahead of an Appropriations Committee hearing. More than 800 Hinds County employees returned to work today as well. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors ordered the closure on April 2. County buildings opening up must provide masks and temperature checks for all returning employees and have installed contact barriers like plexiglass shields for the public.
COVID-19 numbers after Saturday’s spike remained around the low end of the ongoing “plateau.” The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 247 new cases on Sunday and 206 on Monday. This morning, MSDH’s update revealed another 273 Mississippians infected with COVID-19, for a total of 13,731. The seven-day, May 19 through May 26 rolling average of new infections is 290.
Nine Mississippians died from COVID-19-related complications yesterday. MSDH reported eight additional coronavirus fatalities from prior investigations, for a total of 652 since the beginning of the crisis.
Hospitalization metrics remain steady across the board: all recent momentary dips in total COVID-19 hospitalizations are the result of information gaps in the data that MSDH is expected to fill in coming days. Long-term care facilities continue to report new outbreaks with MSDH’s most recent data revealing 121 separate facilities with COVID-19 infections.
Gov. Tate Reeves signed an order late last week that went into effect Monday morning allowing outdoor entertainment venues to open across the state.
“There is no such thing as a non-essential business to those people who rely on its paycheck for their food and for the roof over their head,” Reeves said. The general public may now access places like playgrounds, racetracks and waterparks under “strict health guidelines and rules.” Indoor entertainment venues are still officially closed.
The State still has not announced when it will distribute $300 million to small businesses after the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2772, but Reeves hopes to get the funds out “as soon as humanly possible.”
The Department of Finance and the Mississippi Development Authority, both of which report to the governor’s office, are working together to craft the necessary applications and online components. Reeves is “hopeful that we will get some of that information out sometime next week.”
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state intern Julian Mills at [email protected].