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Here are a few tips to help you get settled:

• Newcomers not assigned to a military base must obtain a Mississippi driver’s license within 60 days of arrival. License applications are taken at State Patrol offices. Call for directions and hours of operation: Biloxi (228) 432-0195, Gulfport (228) 864-1317.

Those without licenses from another state must take an eye exam, a written test, and a road test. Those with out-of-state licenses need to take only the written test and eye exam. New or renewed licenses cost $20 and are good for four years.

• Every vehicle registered in the state must be inspected annually. Inspections cost $5 and are available at many auto dealerships, garages, and service stations.

According to Money Magazine’s "Best Places to Live in America," the Mississippi Gulf Coast compared favorably in 2001 with other metropolitan areas with populations of 250,000 to 1 million.

In a later report released in November 2002, Economy.com favorably compared the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula Metro Area (Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties) with 324 other metropolitan areas across the country.

Economy.com rated the metro area’s employment growth over a two-year period 81st out of 325. Our cost of doing business was measured at only 93 percent of the U.S. average and the metro area’s cost of living was only 91 percent of the U.S. average for the first six months of 2002. Our Gross Metro Product grew 2.4 percent in 2002 to over $10 billion and is projected to grow another 2.6 percent in 2003. The metro area’s unemployment rate grew to slightly over 5 percent in 2002, but still remained well below the national average. Existing home prices remained at the $100,000 level.

Economy.com noted that the Mississippi Coast economy in 2002 was buoyed by strong growth in manufacturing and government payrolls. Defense spending in the wake of 9/11 is likely to pay big dividends to the local area. The steady flow of defense contracts, very affordable living and business costs, strong political figures and a regional tourism industry that is not as exposed to national travel downturns remain some of the major strengths of our area. Research investment in Stennis Space Center is generating high-tech growth.

 

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