From North to South: Mississippi could reap millions and see thousands of new jobs

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One thing is certain, efforts to recruit new business to the state have always been strong and those efforts have paid off.  Need some proof?  Here are just two examples –  Amtrak and Google.

A study released by the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) estimates the benefits of restoring Gulf Coast passenger rail services could generate a total economic output of up to $485,924,479 in Mississippi.

With proposed Amtrak service from New Orleans to Mobile on track to begin in 2022 with stops in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula, Coastal Mississippi is estimated to see an annual tourism spending increase of up to $37,520,300 in Hancock County, $370,551,660 in Harrison County and $33,415,460 in Jackson County. Aspirational scenarios of 1 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, and 20 percent increases in tourism spending were assessed to give decision-makers perspective on how strong the impact on our industry could be.

Additionally, the study estimates the restored Gulf Coast passenger rail service could annually provide over 7,000 new tourism jobs to our three coastal counties.

“We are very much looking forward to the introduction of a passenger rail service that would not only connect our 12 coastal communities, but further connect Coastal Mississippi with our neighboring destinations of Mobile and New Orleans,” said Milton Segarra, CEO of Coastal Mississippi. “The proposed rail services would have an immense economic impact on not only our region but the entire state. Coastal Mississippi offers such a variety of unique experiences, and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors from our neighboring states.”

View the full USM Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Service Economic Impact Report here.

At the other end of the state, in Southaven, Google plans to complete construction this summer on the first Google Operations Center in the U.S.

During Southaven Mayor Darren Musslewhite’s State of the City address in January, he said, “In the summer of 2020, Google announced they had chosen Southaven as the location of their first-ever North American Operations Center. This is obviously an incredible industrial development bringing global notoriety to our city. This is a $26 million capital investment by Google in the 60,000 square-foot facility currently under construction on Airways Boulevard just north of Tanger Outlets. This operation will create 100 new jobs when it opens in the third quarter of 2021 with plans to expand to 350.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, released his “Investing in America 2021” report and said the company plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year.

Pichai said this includes investing in communities that are new to Google and expanding in others across 19 states.

In 2020, Google said it helped provide $180 million of economic activity for 7,600 Mississippi businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers.  More than 133,000 Mississippi businesses received requests for directions, phone calls, bookings, reviews and other direct connections to their customers from Google in 2020.  In addition, last year, Google provided $655,000 of free advertising to Mississippi nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program.

Click here to view the full economic impact state report.

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