MSA Comparison continued
This mixed bag of performances is indicative of some very different export profiles. The closest thing to a constant among them is the importance of the NAFTA market. NAFTA dominates the trading pattern of Clarksville, Morristown, Nashville, and Chattanooga and is the largest market for all the other Tennessee metro areas except Kingsport-Bristol. Kingsport-Bristol joins Memphis as having the most diverse geographical profile, followed by Johnson City and Jackson. These different geographic patterns, of course, are significantly determined by what the metro area is exporting. Auto-related exports are NAFTA-focused. The larger importance of Asia to Kingsport-Bristol and Memphis is determined by the former's concentration in chemicals and synthetics and the Bluff City's substantial medical equipment and agricultural industries. (That agriculture, cotton to be exact, is mostly brokered through Memphis, not grown there!)
If we look at the metro areas' export activity across three of the state's major export industries transportation, chemicals, and computers we see strikingly different patterns. Most areas are heavily invested in one of these industries. No metro area significantly exports across all three, though Nashville comes closest. Kingsport clearly has more of its exporting in one basket than does any other region, though half or more of the exports from Chattanooga, Clarksville, and Nashville are in these three exporting sectors.