- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - New figures show Mississippi’s economic growth trailed the national average in 2015, although that was an improvement over 2014’s contraction.

Gross domestic product numbers released Tuesday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis try to measure all of the economic output of each state.

Mississippi’s economy grew 0.7 percent in 2015, compared with a 0.3 percent decrease in output in 2014. That 2014 number is actually an improvement - BEA had initially said that Mississippi’s economy shrank by 1.2 percent in 2014.

State economist Darrin Webb had predicted roughly 1 percent growth for 2015.

2015’s growth was led by agriculture and nondurable goods manufacturing. That latter category in Mississippi is dominated by food and chemical manufacturing. Retailing, health care and professional and business services also posted solid expansions.

Sectors that shrank included government, accommodations and food service, construction, utilities, mining and durable goods manufacturing.

Nationwide, economic output rose 2.4 percent during 2015. Mississippi, with a $108 billion-plus economy, tied for 41st for growth among states. Webb has said that Mississippi’s economy is unlikely to grow as rapidly as the national economy, citing worker productivity hampered by less educated workers and poorer health. He says Mississippi needs a strong national economy to induce growth.

California and Oregon grew the most, with their economies each expanding by 4.1 percent. Economies shrank only in Alaska and North Dakota, states hit hardest by falling oil prices.

Mississippi retained the lowest per capita gross domestic product of any state - $31,894.

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Online: State economic growth: https://1.usa.gov/238vXWb

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Follow Jeff Amy at https://twitter.com/jeffamy


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