Mississippi has long suffered with a poor economy and high poverty rate among its population. Despite over 17,000 jobs created in the food processing and agricultural industries, unemployment remains above the national average. In 2006, it has climbed to 8%, up from 2005 when it was between 7.5% and 7.9%. Earnings have jumped 1.9% during the years 2003 and 2004.
Education is continuing to make headway in the bid for equal education statewide. There are 1,049 schools in Mississippi. They spend $6,210 per student each year on education. In 2003, 75% of schools passed the No Child Left Behind National Standards. Mississippi continues to improve their teacher training and student scores. The graduation rate is also improving. In 2000, the rate was up to 72.9%, which is a vast improvement over 1990s 64.3%.