2nd Quarter 2016

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Geography [ Maps ]

Data at this level of detail has only been available for the past several years.


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The accompanying map [ see map ] shows the geographical spread of state manufacturing exporters using their five-digit zip codes. A second map shows the change from the previous year. The maps show the relative concentration of manufacturing exporters in the state. A total of 257 of the state's 680 five-digit zip codes do not contain a single manufacturing operation that exports.* On the other hand, the state has 10 zip codes with more than 30 exporting manufacturing firms each. Together these top 10 account for 15% of the statewide total. (Six of these 10, by the way, adjoin one of the state's major airports.)

Particularly when examining both maps together, we can see some trends. The geographically largest area of heavy exporting is around Nashville. This region is growing in all directions, though particularly east and south towards Chattanooga. We see a similar spread in the region from Oak Ridge to Knoxville. Chattanooga and Memphis both have heavy concentrations of manufacturing firms that export, but they are more geographically concentrated around the central city (with Chattanooga area manufacturers expanding northeast of the city). However, a second trend shown by the gains and losses is that exporting firms are moving from the center of the state's metropolitan areas to the greenfield belts that surround them. This is particularly noticeable around Nashville and Chattanooga but can be seen for Memphis and Knoxville as well.

Data at this level of detail has only been available for the past several years. As 2015 and 2016 data become available, we will be able to build a more complex picture of how the pattern of state exporting is evolving, which should prove very interesting.

* There are more than 680 five-digit zip codes in the state, but a number have no specific geographical coordinates and are instead associated with P.O. boxes or buildings. Exporters with such zip codes (and they do exist!) were placed in the zip code that surrounds their location for purposes of building the maps and writing this summary.