Tennessee Counties, 1995-2010
While the state had clear geographic export clusters in 1995, there has not been any substantial change in them over the years.
by Steven G. Livingston | 1 | 2 | 3
Recent issues of Global Commerce have examined trade trends across the state's 95 counties. This issue looks at changes over a longer period. In real terms, Tennessee exports grew by more than 60% between 1995 and 2010. But how was that growth distributed across the state? Do we see larger patterns to the state's export performance over a longer horizon?
As might be expected, a handful of counties dominate the state's export picture. These have not changed much over the past 15 years. Shelby County remains Tennessee's largest exporter, although its share of state exports has declined. Rutherford and Hamilton counties join Williamson and Anderson among the counties that have significantly increased their share of state exports. On the other hand, Maury, Montgomery, and Washington counties, among larger exporters, all saw a relative decrease. These are rather modest shifts, though, given this rather extended period of time.
If we adjust exporting for the size of a county's economy, we see a good deal more change. On this measure, only two counties ranked among the state's top eight in both 1995 and 2010. Unfortunately, a change in this ranking may reflect improved exporting or a relative decline in total economic activity. In several cases (e.g., Lake County) it is almost certainly the latter. Taking this into account, our first insight is that the state has not seen a seismic shift in the location of export activity over the past decade and a half.
A visual inspection of county export ranking in 1995 and 2010 reinforces this conclusion. While the state had clear geographic export clusters in 1995, there has not been any substantial change in them over the ensuing years. If anything, the existing clusters have merely become stronger. [next »]