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Tennessee's Manufacturing Job Growth Slows


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

EVANSTON, Ill, December 28th, 2016/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Tennessee manufacturing employment inched up for a fifth straight year, though at a slower rate than reported in previous years, according to the 2017 Tennessee Manufacturers Register®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Tennessee added 847 jobs between October 2015 and October 2016, a half percent gain.

Tennessee is home to 6,659 manufacturers employing 385,133. Manufacturing employment in the state has grown by 4% since October of 2011, reports MNI.

Tennessee’s solid infrastructure, workforce, business costs, and incentive programs continue to be a draw for a variety of manufacturers, particularly in the transportation equipment sector,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, job growth has slowed due to a strong dollar and global competition, and many of Tennessee’s neighbors offer similar site selection advantages.”

Manufacturing job gains in Tennessee were led by the transportation equipment industry, which added 1,617 jobs or 3.2% over the year, and ranks first in the state for industrial jobs, employing 52,618. Job gains in the sector have outpaced Tennessee’s overall growth, increasing by 32% or 12,600 positions over the past five years.

The fabricated metals industry ranks as Tennessee’s second-largest by manufacturing employment, with 40,372 workers, up 1.6%, while Tennessee’s third-ranked fabricated metals industry accounts for 40,236 jobs, down 2.3%.

MNI’s database recorded employment increases in a few other sub-sectors, including food products, up 3.6%, and primary metals, which rose 1%, and job levels in most other sectors remained steady over the year.

Numerous Tennessee plant openings were announced over the year, including Beretta, which established a new facility in Gallatin; auto supplier Tenneco, which opened a facility in Spring Hill; Harry’s Fresh Foods, which started up operations in Nashville; and Polartec, which broke ground on a new plant in Cleveland.

Industries shedding jobs included textiles/apparel, down 3.2%; furniture/fixtures, also down 3.2%; and printing/publishing, down 1.8%.

Manufacturing locations closing in Tennessee include Goodman Manufacturing, which moved operations at its two Tennessee facilities to a new Houston plant, and Sun Products, which shuttered its Dyersburg location.

MNI reports Tennessee’s manufacturing job gains were concentrated in the western part of the state, with employment up 2.9% in Northwest Tennessee to 78,863 jobs, and up 1.2% in Southwest Tennessee to 79,544. Tennessee’s Northeast and Southeast regions each saw a half percent loss, accounting for 113,757 and 112,969 jobs, respectively.

City data collected by MNI shows Memphis increased its industrial employment by 2.7% over the past year, and ranks first in the state for factory employment with 33,514 jobs. Second-ranked Nashville also gained industrial jobs, up 3.5% to 27,065. Chattanooga jobs held steady at 22,024, as did fourth-ranked Kingsport, which accounts for 15,043. Knoxville industrial jobs declined 2.4% to 14,816, 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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