The jobs news may have been bad as of late, but the future looks bright in Vicksburg

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Recent jobs news in Vicksburg hasn’t been the best.

While Eaton will continue to operate its lighting plant in Vicksburg, it is moving between 50 and 70 jobs to Mexico.

And we learned Monday, Armstrong Flooring is closing its operation in Vicksburg and about 93 workers are out of a job.

Smaller companies here, like everywhere these days, tweak their workforce continually as needed to operate more efficiently. Doing so is a must in today’s economy.

The good news is, Vicksburg and Warren County are better equipped to handle job losses and downsizings than in many years, thanks to the city, county and port commission coming together and hiring Pablo Diaz to steer economic development.

Diaz has already made his mark. He’s credited with leading the charge to secure an almost million dollar grant for improvements at the port.

And before we despair, we should remember not all jobs news here in recent months has been negative.

We have construction under way on a new Margaritaville-themed hotel downtown. Riverboats stopping here and the tourists they bring us are at a record pace. A water park project is slated for the area near the Outlets of Vicksburg, which should be a boon for that retail center.

Officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center expect to hire as many as 800 additional employees within the next five years. A governmental hiring freeze has slowed that effort, but most expect that’s only temporary.

And the recent announcement of the work planned to develop the old Mississippi Hardware building into an innovation and technical center in which small- and mid-sized research and technology businesses would locate, has major potential for job creation here.

Creating an economic development plan and seeing results from that plan isn’t an overnight process. It’s more like turning around a barge on the river — slow and methodical.

Diaz comes to Vicksburg with a mighty record. Given time, effort and cooperation, our city and county will be positioned well to sell itself to those who will create the jobs of tomorrow.