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Tennessee Gains Manufacturing Jobs For A Sixth Straight Year


Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, December 29th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Tennessee manufacturing employment inched up for a sixth straight year, according to new data collected by MNI (Manufacturers' News, Inc.) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Tennessee added 3,251 jobs between October 201 and October 2016, a one percent increase.

Tennessee is home to 6,517 manufacturers employing 382,972. Manufacturing employment in the state has grown at a steady clip over the past six years, rising 5% since October of 2011, reports MNI.

Tennessee’s pro-business environment and generous incentive programs have helped attract a great deal of foreign investment, and existing manufacturers are generally thriving,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, Tennessee’s post-recession growth has largely been based on the auto industry, which now shows signs of slowing, while competition with neighboring states continues to be tough.”

For the first time since the recession, Tennessee’s transportation equipment industry shed jobs, down 1.2% over the past twelve months. Job gains in the sector had previously led the state’s industrial job growth, increasing by 32% or 12,600 workers between 2011 and 2016. Transportation equipment still ranks as the state’s top sector by number of factory jobs, employing 51,981, or about 14% of the state’s manufacturing workers.

However, it was a good year for auto suppliers, with the grand opening of South Korea-based Hankook Tires’ first U.S. plant in Clarksville, which helped boost employment in the state’s rubber/plastics industry. In addition, Finland-based Nokian Tyre broke ground a new $360 million tire plant in Dayton, which will eventually add another 400 workers to that sector.

In more good news for the state, South Korea-based LG Electronics Inc. broke ground on a washing machine manufacturing facility in Clarksville, while China-based Sinomax established its first U.S. plant in Davidson County for the manufacture of memory foam bedding products. In addition, Tyson Foods unveiled plans to establish a $300 million poultry-processing plant in Tonganoxie, which will eventually employ 1,500.

Manufacturing job gains in Tennessee were spread across multiple sectors and were strongest in furniture/fixtures, up 5.7%; rubber/plastics, which rose 5% and electronics, up 4.2%. Primary metals; textiles/apparel; and food processing each grew by 3%, while fabricated metals and paper products grew by 1%.

Industrial employment losses were reported in the stone/clay/glass industry, down 4%; industrial machinery, down 3%; and printing/publishing, down 1.7%. All other industries remained stable.

Manufacturing locations closing in Tennessee include Timkin Company’s Pulaski bearings plant, which shifted production to other facilities, and Nelson Global products, which shuttered its Clinton facility. Also notable was the closure of RR Donnelly’s Gallatin plant, which ceased operations after 42 years.

MNI reports Tennessee’s manufacturing job gains were concentrated in the eastern part of the state, with employment up 2.7% in Southeast Tennessee to 116,009 jobs, and up a half percent in Northeast Tennessee to 108,148. Employment in Tennessee’s Northwest and Southwest regions remained steady over the year, accounting for 79,470 and 79,345 jobs, respectively.

City data collected by MNI shows industrial jobs in Memphis rose 1.2% over the year, with the city ranking first in the state for factory employment with 33,911 jobs. Second-ranked Nashville also gained industrial jobs, up 4.7% to 28,961 workers. Chattanooga jobs held steady at 21,898, while factory jobs declined 2.3% in fourth-ranked Knoxville to 14,482. Smyrna industrial jobs inched up 1% to 11,252 jobs, reports MNI.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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