After months of grim economic news in Jackson County leading to hundreds of layoffs, there's word tonight that a new industry has its sights on the area.
Sen. Trent Lott told WLOX News in his Thursday afternoon conference call that an international company is interested in a site in Jackson County. However, Lott says it's still in the preliminary stages.
"I don't want to jump the gun and spook them anyway by announcing it, but it's a blue chip company, and it could employ anywhere from 400 to begin with to above that to whatever winds up in that development," Sen. Lott said.
Lott would not name the company, or what kind of business it is, other than to say it is a major manufacturing industry. George Freeland is the executive director of the Jackson County Economic Developement Foundation and says, "There's a possibility and an opportunity and I think it's an opportunity that will build a positive momentum here on the coast and in Jackson County."
International Paper closed its doors last month, laying off 375 employees. This week, Friede Goldman Halter announced up to 500 layoffs. Another 210 workers from Rohm & Haas will be out of work by the end of the year, and First Chemical is putting 70 more people out of work.
If a deal is sealed, the jobs a new company would bring, in addition to the seven hundred jobs created in Ocean Springs when Cingular decided to put its call service center there, could offset the hundreds of layoffs that have hit Jackson County this year.
So just as things start to look gloomy in the county, maybe this latest news will be the shot in the arm that leads to more and more positive news. Freeland says, "This is an opportunity and we do feel that it is an indication of bigger and better things to come; there is a positive momentum here in Jackson County and we are poised, we are set to take advantage of and capitalize on future investment."
More from the WLOX.com news archives:
03/01/2001 - Friede Goldman Employees Lose Their Jobs
04/26/2001 - Governor Reacts To Recent News Of Layoffs
05/08/2001 - Friede Workers Face Another Round Of Layoffs
06/14/2001 - First Chemical Sells Part Of Plant Operation
06/19/2001 - Rohm And Haas In Moss Point Is Closing