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The Wadley Donovan Group conducted a 24-county labor market assessment in 2002.  The 24 counties were divided into three separate regions.  Leake County was assigned to Region 1 which included counties of Clarke, Jasper, Kemper, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Smith.  This authorized study required independent research to review the local operating environment in the county and the region from the perspective of a locationally active company. 

 

 

Findings and Conclusions of The Wadley Donovan Group

 

Leake County offers office and industrial employers an attractive labor market.  Entry and mid-level, and some skilled employees are available to new and expanding employers.  Area labor costs are below national averages in every industry group.  Most target industries will see labor cost savings for operations in Leake County compared to other parts of the country.

 

  1. Entry-level workers are readily available. Production, distribution, and clerical workers are in good supply, and most area firms fill job openings through walk-ins, referrals and word of mouth.

  2. New and expanding employers will have little difficulty recruiting entry-level, mid-level and skilled workers if they are willing to pay above average salaries and benefits.

  3. Leake County can easily support additional manufacturing, distribution and back office operations. Prospective employers will need to offer entry-level wages in the $7.00 to $8.00/hr. range and provide a competitive benefit package to secure a quality applicant pool.

  4. Surveyed employers are generally satisfied with the region, its workforce, business climate, and overall quality of life. 

  5. Surveyed employers indicate the area’s high quality of life evident in its schools, climate, health care, low crime rate, lack of traffic and low taxes make it an attractive place to operate.

  6. 49% of survey employed residents within Region 1 are interested in obtaining new job skills.  New and expanding employers can tap into this potential labor pool to recruit workers interested in obtaining on-the-job and classroom training for positions that offer new opportunities.

  7. Recent plant closures have eliminated 2,500 jobs in the region.  This has caused wages to remain flat and afforded employers the ability to cherry-pick the best applicants.  New and expanding employers can benefit from this labor surplus.

  8. Leake County has a medium sized labor force of 9,500 that is supplemented by workers who commute into Leake County from neighboring counties.  The county’s 30-minute labor commute zone provides a workforce of approximately 15,700.  Scott County is the source of most out-of-county labor. 

  9. Surveyed employers indicate satisfaction with work ethic, productivity, and willingness to work overtime.  When compared to other company sites, Leake County locations are considered slightly more productive.  This reinforces that view that the quality of the area workforce is above average.

  10.  20% of Region 1 surveyed residents are not employed and 18% work part time.  32% of the not employed want a full time job.  This represents a hidden labor supply for new and expanding employers. 

  11. 44% of not employed Region 1 surveyed residents would be interested in obtaining a job if they were required to receive job training.

  12.  22% of not employed Region 1 surveyed residents indicate they are not working because they cannot find a suitable job.  This labor component represents a training opportunity for local industry and education and training institutions.

 

LEAKE COUNTY LABOR SURVEY MAPS

30-MINUTE COMMUTE ZONE FROM THE INTERSECTION OF HWY 25 AND HWY 35

2001 POPULATION DENSITY

PROJECTED POPULATION CHANGE 2001-2006

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION WITH 12-15 YEARS EDUCATION

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION WITH PRECISION PRODUCTION SKILLS

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION WITH MACHINE OPERATION/ASSEMBLY SKILLS

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION WITH CLERICAL SKILLS

 

 

 

LABOR MARKET ASSESSMENT OF LEAKE COUNTY

AND MID-MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT

APPENDIX  

 

 


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