Region needs state, federal help for jobs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

We passed Labor Day &045;&045; the unofficial end of summer but the official celebration of American workers &045;&045; with unemployment numbers up in both Adams County and Concordia Parish.

The news is not surprising, of course, but we read July’s numbers with the knowledge that those in August &045;&045; the month all International Paper workers were laid off &045;&045; will be worse.

While it is true that the economy across the country has caused layoffs and plant closings, that is cold comfort to those of us in Southwest Mississippi who believe our region has been overlooked for too long.

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The rising unemployment numbers should be a catalyst not only for our local leaders to continue their efforts to attract jobs but also for our state and federal representatives to pitch in their help.

It’s frustrating to read about areas like North Carolina, hit hard by textile job losses recently, receiving millions in federal aid. While those losses are difficult, North Carolina is not per se a state without job growth.

Southwest Mississippi, on the other hand, has been struggling with what must be greater per capita job losses.

We’re not looking for a handout &045;&045; just recognition for the willing workforce and the tough times we’re experiencing.