President's Report
February 2016 Issue 01

A decade ago, the Gulf Coast Business Council was founded by a group of visionary business leaders to act as the voice of business interests along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  As we've grown through the years, the Business Council has continued to refine its program of work and evolve with the ongoing opportunities and challenges we've faced in Coastal Mississippi. 

With its tremendous work and leadership after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, the Gulf Coast Business Council established itself as a unique and effective catalyst for progress, able to spur timely discourse on important issues and affect necessary public policy outcomes. As such, we are pleased to present this first edition of the Gulf Coast Business Council President's Report, which will allow our members to remain informed about the ongoing work of the Gulf Coast Business Council and its partner organizations.  Each edition will feature a snapshot of updated economic data and analysis, news of interest to our membership and an overview of the latest activities of the Gulf Coast Business Council.

Next month, we look forward to updating you on the active legislative session underway at the State Capitol and provide current information regarding legislative initiatives of particular importance to our membership.

Thank you for your commitment to the future of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Ashley Edwards 
Ashley Edwards | Gulf Coast Business Council | 228.897.2020 |
Special Reports and Articles of Interest
Economic Report

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security released preliminary estimates for its Annual Labor Force Report. Notably, MDES revises their numbers every April so this data is subject to change. Key considerations below:
  • For the first time since January 2014, all three counties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast reported year-over-year increases in establishment jobs[1].
  • Overall the combined Mississippi Gulf Coast reported 700 more jobs in December 2016 than it did prior year. If the loss in construction jobs in Jackson County (as a result of Chevron plant completion) is factored out, overall growth would have been closer to 1,300 jobs.
  • The number of employed individuals living in the three coastal counties increased by 8,560.

[1]  Establishment jobs are those located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and do not include self-employed individuals.
Employment update produced by Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation
Mississippi Economic Outlook Forum Presentation

Attached is a copy of the presentation given February 11, 2016 at the University of Southern Mississippi's Economic Outlook Forum by Ashley Edwards regarding the Mississippi Gulf Coast Economy.
In the News
Higher Education Updates and News

Considering the important work of our Gulf Coast Business Council Higher Education Study Group last year, I wanted to provide you with a link to a recent Sun Herald article that shines a very positive light on the success Coast Higher Education Institutions have had in transitioning students from community colleges to four-year degrees.   Business leaders along the Mississippi Gulf Coast view success in higher education as one of the preeminent opportunities for continued economic growth in South Mississippi.  With that in mind, we congratulate our educators for their important achievements.
USM Hosts 6th Annual Economic Outlook Forum

..."The coastal economy is coming back," said Ashley Edwards, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. "We've seen very good indicators, our trend lines are all positive now, job growth, growth in our tourism and gaming industries."

Amtrak test trip to be met with celebrations across the Coast
For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, a passenger train will make stops along the Coast!
New Gulf Park Signage coming soon!
Construction has now begun on the new gateway signage located at the same Highway 90 campus entrance. The gateway will feature two curved concrete and stucco signs and lettering with the words "The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus" as well as the University's seal. The signs will be lighted and will be positioned on either side of Beach Park Place.  The new entrance gateway will enhance visibility of the Gulf Park campus.  The project is expected to be completed by the end of April. There will be a ribbon-cutting celebration to mark the completion of this improvement to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus.  
Membership Meetings

Next Membership Meeting
February 29th 8:00am 
Knight Nonprofit Center in the
Regions Banquet Room

Please join us at the next membership meeting as special guests State Senator Sean Tindell and Representative Scott Delano discuss Mississippi Gulf Coast priorities being developed and discussed in the current legislative session.

January Membership Meeting

The Gulf Coast Business Council welcomed Airport Executive Director Clay Williams, who detailed important initiatives onoing at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.
Welcome New Members

Join us in welcoming the following new members for January

  • Carlene Alfonso, Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty
  • Regan Kane, John McDonald Realty
The Mission of the Gulf Coast Business Council is to grow a sustainable diversified economy, recognized for its creativity, highly skilled workforce and favorable business environment that complements the livability of our communities and provides for opportunities and benefits to all citizens along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Gulf Coast Business Council | 228.897.2020 | |