From Mississippi Development Guide 2021

Hattiesburg: Southern Hub of Industry

REGION Profile: Hattiesburg
Photo courtesy of Visit Mississippi

Centrally located among Jackson, Gulfport-Biloxi, New Orleans and Mobile, Hattiesburg’s nickname of “Hub City” makes a lot of sense. Couple the city’s ideal location with its robust transportation network, and it is even easier to understand why Hattiesburg is the No. 1 city in the state for job growth.

Home to approximately 148,000 people, Hattiesburg offers a lower cost of living and affordable housing, 29% lower than the national average. According to ESRI, Hattiesburg’s central location allows companies to draw from a surrounding labor pool of 147,496 within a 45-minute drive and 210,090 within an hour drive of the city. Compared to other major cities in the south, Hattiesburg has one of the highest percentages of millennials.

With four colleges and universities, including the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, Pearl River Community College, and Jones County Junior College, over 26,000 college students are within a 30-mile radius. According to the Area Development Partnership of Greater Hattiesburg, 88.85% of the greater metro area’s population (25 or older) hold at least a high school diploma. Nearly 30% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Workforce training programs like the Pine Belt Works Basic Manufacturing Certificate Program provide local industries and students opportunities. Additionally, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Polymer Science Engineering program and the Polymer Institute offer world-class polymer research and workforce training.

Hattiesburg’s primary industries are centered around transportation, health care and education, military, hospitality, manufacturing and professional services. In recent years, the region has become a hub for green energy,  with 150 MW on the grid from solar power.

Kohler Power, a manufacturer of engines, generators and uninterruptible power supplies, is expanding its operation in Hattiesburg. The company has been manufacturing its products in the city since 1998. The new manufacturing line will encompass approximately 80,000 square feet of one of Kohler’s Hattiesburg facilities. Kohler will be expanding into an additional 187,000 square-foot space to increase its engine warehousing operations in the third quarter of this year, bringing the company’s manufacturing and warehousing space in Hattiesburg to more than 900,000 square feet.

In March 2019, Kohler announced it was consolidating engine manufacturing operations from Wisconsin to Hattiesburg, creating 250 new full-time jobs in addition to the 350 workers already employed there. Kohler Power plans to fill the 75 new generator-manufacturing jobs later this year. The addition of the new jobs will bring the company’s total employment in Hattiesburg to approximately 800.

“Kohler is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies. Originally recruited to Hattiesburg more than 20 years ago, it is now Hattiesburg’s second-largest manufacturing employer,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “Kohler’s latest expansion announcement with 75 new jobs proves that it believes the Hattiesburg community plays a critical role in its long-term success. Additionally, this announcement continues to grow the advanced manufacturing sector in our local economy. Thanks to our partners at The Area Development Partnership for their leadership and foresight to help make this expansion a possibility.”

Savannah King
Managing Editor of Custom Content

Savannah King

Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.


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