One of the most influence economic policy leaders in the country says Mississippi's economy will continue to grow. But the president of the federal reserve bank in Atlanta is also warning about long term troubles holding the state back.
Bank president Dennis Lockhart is one of a handful of people that play a key role in influencing policy that can change the course of the American economy.
He spoke to a group of business leaders and bankers in Jackson yesterday.
Lockhart is predicting steady growth for the American economy, which he says is a good sign for the Mississippi.
"Medium term I think Mississippi is going to see better conditions. But there are some longer term challenges that need to be addressed," Lockhart said.
Among the problems Lockhart sees are weak labor force, trouble attracting outside investment and high tech manufacturing and more.
"The Mississippi economy has some concentrations of employment in areas that have some vulnerability. Defense is an example. Tourism is already seeing some weakness because of tourism falling off," Lockhart said.
One bright spot Lockhart noted is Mississippi's connection to the auto industry which he says is one of the strongest industries in the country.
Jackson State University economics professor Nicholas Hill attended the speech and says despite concerns, he feels upbeat.
"I Think it is a good because a recent report suggests that we are number two in unemployment. And with him saying that there is room for the slack within the employment area to come together, that is very optimistic for our state," Hill said.
Unemployment in Mississippi in just under 8-percent, but state economists are predicting improvement with a growing economy.