Younger Associates (YA) has evaluated the Northwest Mississippi labor market from the viewpoint of a logistics operation seeking to locate in the market. The Northwest Mississippi labor market is comprised of five Mississippi counties: Tunica, DeSoto, Marshall, Benton and Tate.
In addition, Northwest Mississippi draws a significant portion of the workforce from Memphis, Shelby County, TN. This assessment provides the potential labor yield for the five counties in Mississippi as a stand-alone market, and for the six counties including Shelby County which is the functional labor market area.

During 2015, YA completed a comprehensive workforce survey and analysis for the labor market. The survey of the workforce was conducted in sufficient depth to yield a 95% confidence factor and a +4% margin of error.

In this labor yield evaluation, we draw from the in-depth primary data that was collected in the survey analysis and combine it with the most current data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was also used from licensed, proprietary sources such as Claritas and EMSI.

Younger Associates specializes in research for economic development. The firm has pioneered many innovative economic development studies and has developed a workforce survey process that provides highly reliable data that includes all sectors of the workforce. YA is nationally recognized for the quality of the firm’s work in analyzing labor market dynamics. The firm's workforce data has been utilized in successful location decisions for businesses across the U.S.

Logistics Industry Workforce Availability

As the first step in determining workforce availability, the occupations most in demand nationally by the logistics industry were identified. A list of the top 50 in-demand occupations for the logistics industry sector was compiled from national data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics.

The annual employment demand, wage data, location quotients and other occupational characteristics were compiled for each occupation. Applying data developed from the workforce survey, a labor yield table was developed to project the number of qualified applicants a logistics operation could expect to hire from the Northwest Mississippi labor market (NW MS).

Key Findings

  • This analysis finds that a new logistics employer, providing locally competitive wages and benefits, locating in Tunica, DeSoto, Marshall, or Benton counties could expect to find 1,559 qualified applicants residing in the five-county Mississippi portion of the labor market. The number of qualified applicants totals 7,149 when the portion of applicants residing in Shelby County, TN and willing to commute is included.
  • These numbers of qualified applicants do not include support occupations (i.e. office clerks, sales representatives) that are among the top 50 occupations but are non-specific distribution and logistics. The number of qualified applicants for these occupations is high and greatly expands the total number of qualified applicants. The purpose of selecting only direct operations occupations is to not overstate the availability of qualified workers for key positions.
  • The NW MS average wage ($19.13) for the top 50 logistics occupations is 15.3% lower than the national average wage ($22.05) for these workers.
  • There are twenty colleges, universities and other post-secondary training providers in the six- county labor market that offer training programs that directly support logistics occupations.
  • In 2014, these higher education training providers produced 1,807 graduates or certifications from programs related to the top 50 occupations in the logistics industry. The annual new talent pipeline is strong.
  • The largest cohort of qualified applicants come from those workers who are currently underemployed and have previous experience in a distribution and warehousing environment. This is due to the situation that the regional economy has not returned to the peak employment levels of 2007. Many workers have accepted lower skill level employment or are working in temporary employment positions.
  • There is a high degree of specialization among the workforce in distribution and logistics, as evidenced by the high location quotients for key occupations in the industry sector.

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DeSoto County’s highly-skilled workforce, world-class training programs, logistical access to major markets and low cost of doing business make it a prime location for medical device manufacturers. Industry employment has grown 50% in the greater Memphis area since 1999 – more than four times the national rate of growth. There are currently more than 40 life science companies operating in the metro area, leading to the area becoming known as the “Life Science Corridor.”

Educational institutions in DeSoto County and throughout the Greater Memphis region provide a steady pipeline of workers at all skill levels. Community colleges and technical schools offer training in CNC machining, mechatronics, quality assurance, machine operation and tool and die making, all highly-desirable skills in the medical device industry. Four year institutions, such as the University of Memphis, supply engineering, chemistry and biology professionals.  Additionally, The Greater Memphis Medical Device Council, a partnership between private industry and economic development, works to sustain the biomedical industry ecosystem in the region. The Council provides medical device manufacturers in DeSoto County and the region a direct channel to collaborate and address workforce needs to effectively close skills gaps. 

Doing business in DeSoto County also means easy access to national and global markets. A hub for FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, the metro area has superior transportation infrastructure via road, river, rail and air. The DeSoto Trade Center grants instant access to international markets with its foreign trade zone. And, with low business tax rates and abundant, affordable land, DeSoto County offers clear advantages to medical device manufacturers.

For a list of Top Occupations in the Medical Device Industry in DeSoto County's labor shed, click here.

Younger Associates (YA) has evaluated the Northwest Mississippi labor market from the viewpoint of a motor vehicle assembly/manufacturing operation seeking to locate in the region. The Northwest Mississippi labor market is primarily comprised of ten counties including Benton, Coahoma, DeSoto, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi and Fayette and Shelby counties in Tennessee. Crittenden, Lee and Phillips Counties in Arkansas also provide workers for the Northwest Mississippi labor market and would be an additional source of workers for an automotive assembly plant. However, this assessment provides the potential labor yield for the ten-county primary region, which has excellent highway access for worker mobility.

In 2015, YA completed a comprehensive workforce survey and analysis in the Northwest Mississippi region. A survey of the workforce was conducted in sufficient depth to yield a 95% confidence factor and a +4% margin of error.

In this labor market assessment, we draw from the in-depth primary data that was collected in that analysis and combine it with them most current data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the U.S. Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was also used from licensed, proprietary sources such as Claritas and EMSI.

Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry Workforce Availability

As the first step in determining workforce availability, the occupations most in demand by the motor vehicle manufacturing industry were identified. A list was compiled of the top 40 in-demand occupations for the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry sector as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics.

The annual employment demand, wage data, location quotients and other occupational characteristics were compiled for of the top 40 occupations. Applying information derived from the workforce survey, a labor yield table was developed to project the number of qualified applicants a motor vehicle manufacturer could expect to hire from the Northwest Mississippi region.

Key Findings

  • This analysis finds that a new motor vehicle manufacturing employer, providing locally competitive wages and benefits, locating in the Northwest Mississippi region could expect to hire from the current population 2,848 workers from the ten-county labor market area, depending on the selectivity of the employer.
  • The Northwest Mississippi average wage ($19.54) for the top 40 motor vehicle manufacturing occupations is 27.1% lower than the national average wage ($24.83) for these workers.
  • Colleges, universities and other post-secondary training providers serving the Northwest Mississippi area offer approximately 70 training programs that prepare workers for the top motor vehicle manufacturing occupations. In 2014, these higher education training providers produced 3,409 graduates from programs supporting to the top 40 occupations in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry. If business program graduates are excluded, which include programs for occupations such as accountants, human resource and information systems, the number of graduates is still 1,669. This annual influx of trained workers provides a strong pipeline of new workers to complement the initial hiring pool.
  • For the top two occupations for automotive assembly—team assemblers and production workers—the location quotient in the Northwest Mississippi labor market is above the national average. There has been a steady increase in the number of workers in these occupations every year since 2007.
  • Northwest Mississippi has a proven ability to attract new workers to locate in the region. Good public schools and low cost of living entice young families and others to relocate in the region for employment opportunities. Population growth can be considered a positive factor in the labor yield pipeline.

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Younger Associates (YA) has evaluated the Northwest Mississippi labor market from the viewpoint of a business support operation seeking to locate in the market. The Northwest Mississippi labor market is comprised of five Mississippi counties: Tunica, DeSoto, Marshall, Benton and Tate.
In addition, Northwest Mississippi draws a significant portion of the workforce from Memphis, Shelby County, TN. This assessment provides the potential labor yield for the five counties in Mississippi as a stand-alone market, and for the six counties including Shelby County which is the functional labor market area.

During 2015, YA completed a comprehensive workforce survey and analysis for the labor market. The survey of the workforce was conducted in sufficient depth to yield a 95% confidence factor and a +4% margin of error.

In this labor yield evaluation, we draw from the in-depth primary data that was collected in the survey analysis and combine it with the most current data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was also used from licensed, proprietary sources such as Claritas and EMSI.

Business Support Services Workforce Availability

As the first step in determining workforce availability, the occupations most in demand nationally by the business support industry were identified. A list of the top 50 in-demand occupations for the business support services sector was compiled from national data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics.

The annual employment demand, wage data, location quotients and other occupational characteristics were compiled for each occupation. Applying data developed from the workforce survey, a labor yield table was developed to project the number of qualified applicants a Business Support operation could expect to hire from the Northwest Mississippi labor market (NW MS).

Key Findings

  • This analysis finds that a business support services employer, providing locally competitive wages and benefits, locating in Tunica, DeSoto, Marshall, or Benton counties could expect to find 1,146 qualified skilled manufacturing applicants residing in the five-county Mississippi portion of the labor market. The number of qualified skilled applicants totals 11,160 when the portion of applicants residing in Shelby County, TN, and willing to commute, is included.
  • The NW MS average wage ($20.09) for the top 50 business support services occupations is 18.2% lower than the national average wage ($23.75) for these workers.
  • There are twenty-one colleges, universities and other post-secondary training providers in the six- county labor market that offer training programs that directly support motor vehicle parts manufacturing occupations.
  • In 2014, these higher education training providers produced 2,101 graduates or certifications from programs related to the top 50 occupations in business support services. The annual new talent pipeline is strong.
  • The largest cohort of qualified applicants come from those workers who are currently underemployed and have previous experience in a manufacturing environment This is due to the situation that the regional economy has not returned to the peak employment levels of 2007. Many workers have accepted lower skill level employment.

To view full analysis, please click here.