Move Mississippi Forward, MEC Release New Study

Click Here to Watch a Video of the Press Conference

mmf dolphus speaking croppedRev. Dolphus Weary (speaking) outlines the importance of the automotive industry as a whole, and Nissan specifically, to Mississippi's economy.

The automotive industry is Mississippi’s fastest growing industry and offers a salary more than 30 percent higher than the state average, according to a study released by Move Mississippi Forward and the Mississippi Economic Council.

The groups have studied the economic impact of specified manufacturers in the past, but the new report – conducted by the independent National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University – examined the entire sector. The automotive industry in Mississippi includes two major manufacturing facilities – Toyota in Blue Springs and Nissan in Canton – as well as numerous suppliers.

Highlights of the study include:

· Automotive industry employment grew by more than 64 percent between 2010 and 2016, making it the fastest growing industry in the state.

· The industry employs approximately 18,250 statewide.

· The average salary is $50,510, more than 1.34 times greater than state average of $37,642.

· The automotive industry accounts for an estimated $5.7 billion of the state gross domestic product – or what the state produces each year.

“This report informs all Mississippians of the tremendous economic impact that the automotive industry has made in our state,” said Dr. Dolphus Weary, co-chair of Move Mississippi Forward and a long-time community civic and community leader. “This sector has always been important to our state, but in the last 15 years has gained unbelievable momentum. It has changed our state for the better.”

The growth began in 2003 when Nissan opened the first manufacturing facility in central Mississippi, which was followed by Toyota’s north Mississippi plant that began production in 2011. Major automotive companies such as PACCAR, Grammer, and Tower International followed suit with construction of new operations. The growth has included Yokohama Tire locating in West Point and a major expansion by Cooper Tires within the state.

“Dozens of companies have located in Mississippi because of the favorable tax structure, willingness of state and local governments to partner with them and a workforce that produces highly skilled labor,” said Duane O’Neill, co-chair of Move Mississippi Forward and President & CEO of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership. “This sector has benefitted the entire state, not just a couple of communities. Automotive industries are located in 32 counties, and some of the large facilities employ workers from numerous counties, so there is a domino effect across our state.”

NSPARC, an interdisciplinary research center, began its research this spring and used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to build the report.

The full report can be found at

“What we have achieved with the automotive industry is a part of the story about Mississippi that quite often goes untold,” said Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC’s executive director. “We are a great state and we have become just as progressive in our effort to provide economic opportunities to our citizens as many other states. The results unequivocally show that the automotive industry is a powerful economic force for Mississippi.”

The MEC – the state’s chamber of commerce – believes the automotive industry’s advanced manufacturing facilities have changed the perception of Mississippi nationally, and even globally.

“Mississippi has built a reputation as a good place to do business, and we see even greater things ahead,” said Scott Waller, MEC’s interim president and CEO. “Continental Tire’s $1.4 billion plant is scheduled to open in 2019, and we believe additional suppliers will find Mississippi an attractive locations as they begin to site their operations.

“Mississippi is gaining stature in the Southern Auto Corridor and we don’t see it slowing down, which is why it is so important that we work to maintain a competitive business environment.”

Click Here for News Coverage on the MMF/MEC Report and Press Release