JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - More jobs are coming to Jackson County as companies continue to expand.
Employees in the production warehouse of American Baitworks in St. Martin have been fast at work manufacturing fishing lures, rods, and other accessories. As the company grows, so does the number of workers.
“Since we put all this together, we’ve created roughly 50 new jobs that weren’t already in the industry, just through expansion and growth and moving some of the manufacturing here,” said the company’s president Justin Sward.
Production will soon be on the move to Jackson County as the company prepares to move into a new facility at the Sunplex on Highway 57. The new building has more than 70,000 square feet that American Baitworks hopes to be operating out of by October.
“It’s really centrally located there for the employees. So we’re pulling from all the coastal counties as far as employee base goes,” said Sward. “It’s a great place for people to live and work and so many great school systems down here, as well. We’ve probably relocated 10 to 12 employees, bringing them into Mississippi.”
American Baitworks expects to have around 100 employees working in the new facility, but they are not alone. Other companies are also expanding in Jackson County. Rolls-Royce Naval Marine is undergoing a $31 million expansion that will bring highly skilled jobs to to the county.
“Many of these are C.N.C. machine operators. That’s a skill set that primarily doesn’t exist in our current market,” said George Freeland, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation’s executive director. “It checks a lot of boxes. New investment, expanded investment, new advanced manufacturing, and a measure of economic diversification in our economy and community.”
Around $21 million in funding for the Rolls-Royce expansion is coming from the Defense Production Act Title III, with the remaining $10 million coming from the BP economic damages fund.