Magnolia Mornings: June 14, 2024 (2024)

  • Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1.Gov. Reeves celebrates Mississippi’s historically low unemployment rates

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On Thursday, Governor Tate Reeves announced that multiple metropolitan areas in Mississippi now held the lowest not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the entire nation. The data comes from a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Governor’s office, the Hattiesburg and Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Areas are tied for first in the nation with an April 2024 not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 1.6%.

The Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula Metropolitan Statistical Area is tied for sixth in the nation with an April 2024 not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 1.8%.

“This new data is further proof that Mississippi’s economy is on fire,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We have had an unprecedented run of record-shattering private sector investment and new economic development projects in the last few years. We’ve secured more good-paying jobs for the people of our state, and this shows that it’s making a difference.”

2.Former Lottery HR VP pleads guilty to embezzlement

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According to the State Auditor’s office, Hope Bishop, former Vice President of Human Resources at the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement. Bishop was arrested in November of 2023.

Bishop is accused of giving herself unauthorized raises.The Lottery Corporation staff discovered Bishop’s embezzlement and reported it to the State Auditor’s office when they were improving lottery operations. The Corporation has now put into place additional controls to prevent embezzlement in the future. Bishop was served with a $187,738.85 demand at the time of her arrest. She was prosecuted by the Rankin County District Attorney’s Office. Bishop was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, 15 years suspended, and 5 years house arrest followed by 5 years of supervised probation. Fines, fees, and investigative costs were also ordered.

The State Auditor says Bishop had no access to the gaming side of lottery operations, so her actions did not affect the integrity of lottery games.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Biden signs security agreement with Ukraine

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As reported by the New York Times, President Joe Biden has signed a 10-year security pact with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that he says guarantees a supply of weapons, intelligence support, advice and technology needed to win the war and deter a new one.

“He also said the United States would take the lead in providing Ukraine with a $50 billion loan to rebuild its devastated ports and power plants and to buy weapons,” NYT reported. “The money is to be repaid from interest generated from $300 billion in assets that Mr. Putin, inexplicably, left in Western financial institutions before his February 2022 invasion.”

Biden is attending a G7 meeting with other world leaders in Italy.

2. SCOTUS decision leaves abortion pill access in place

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The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld access to theabortion pill mifepristone in a ruling released on Thursday, saying the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine didn’t have standing to sue.

According to USA Today, “Inturning away a challengeby a group of anti-abortion doctors, a unanimous court avoided a case that in one swoop could have threatened access to the procedure nationwide and the power of the Food and Drug Administration to approve medications.”

Sports & Entertainment

1.Mangrum hired as new Ole Miss pitching coach

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Ole Miss has hired Joel Mangrum as the Rebels’ newest assistant. Mangrum will serve as the team’s pitching coach and handle the day-to-day management of the pitching staff.

A native of Brandon, Mississippi, Mangrum comes to Oxford after professional and college coaching stints with the Cleveland Guardians, ULM, New Mexico State, Austin Peay, Milligan College, and Hinds Community College.

Mangrum has spent the last six seasons with the Guardians, four of them as Minor League Pitching Coordinator. He was promoted to Pitching Coordinator in 2020 after serving as a Minor League Pitching Coach in 2018 and 2019.

2. Southern Miss baseball’s Wilks earns All-American honors

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Southern Miss designated hitterSlade Wilksearned third-team All-American honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in an announcement Wednesday by the organization.

Wilks completed his Golden Eagle baseball career this month at the NCAA Knoxville Regional with a 36-game hitting streak as the Golden Eagles finished with a 43-20 record and their eight-straight NCAA postseason appearance under their belts. Wilks’ streak ranks second best in school history, trailing only Todd Nace, who hit in 41-straight games in 1991.

Wilks finished his final collegiate season with a .336 batting average which included 20 doubles, a triple, 14 home runs and 69 RBI.

Markets & Business

1.Chinese automakers sell more cars than U.S. rivals for first time

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CNBC reports that automotive companies in China sold more cars than their U.S. counterparts for the first time last year

“Chinese brands, led by Shenzhen-based BYD, sold 13.4 million new vehicles last year, while American brands sold about 11.9 million, the data showed. Japanese brands led with 23.59 million sales,” CNBC reported. “China’s sales growth also outpaced the U.S., up 23% from the previous year compared to the U.S.’s 9%.”

2. Dozens of companies trying to dig out of pandemic-era debt ratings declines

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The Wall Street Journal reports that dozens of big companies, fromDelta Air LinestoFord MotorandMacy’s, had their debt ratings cut to junk during the pandemic, as entire industries were brought to their knees.

“Nearly half those companies still have the scruffy rating, and most are trying to work their way back,” WSJ notes, adding, “The swath of downgrades during the pandemic was largely due to how drastic and quick the change in companies’ financials was, saidAlex Bumazhny, a Fitch analyst. Though it’s not a decision the rater takes lightly, he said, in 2020 companies loaded themselves with debt and there was general uncertainty on when business might return to normal and what that would look like.”

Bumazhny also told WSJ that once downgraded, it takes on average five years for companies to get back to investment-grade.

Magnolia Mornings: June 14, 2024 (2024)
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