1st Quarter 2011

Open Flash version | pdf | trade report

Top Counties


Number of Exporters

Shelby
192
Hamilton
188
Davidson
152
Knox 116
Hamblen 52
Williamson
50
Rutherford 47
Washington 40
Anderson 39
Sumner 38
Sullivan 36

Export Employment

Shelby
21,671
Davidson
14,213
Rutherford
11,739
Hamilton 10,544
Sullivan 9,753
Knox
7,013
Hamblen 5,335
Madison 4,498
Putnam 4,404
Bradley 4,153
Robertson 4,038

% of Manufacturers That Export

Hamblen
46.02%
Loudon
43.94%
Clay
38.46%
Houston 38.46%
Perry 38.46%
Hamilton
37.90%
Wayne 37.50%
Hardeman 33.33%
Trousdale 33.33%
Hawkins 32.65%
Marshall 32.61%
Anderson 31.20%

% Manufacturing Employment
in an Exporting Firm

Perry
88.41%
Rhea
83.59%
Trousdale
83.20%
Hardeman 77.71%
Loudon 77.31%
Bedford
76.30%
Obion 75.91%
Sullivan 72.20%
Henry 72.06%
Humphreys 71.86%
McMinn 70.93%
Putnam 70.21%
Rutherford 66.73%
Robertson 66.68%

No Reported Exporting Establishments

Bledsoe
Hancock
Lake
Van Buren


Where Are Tennessee Exporters Located?

The raw count by county is rather predictable, but there are a few surprises.

by Steven G. Livingston

The latest government figures identify 6,463 Tennessee enterprises as exporters. This is about 1.5% of all the private for-profit business establishments in the state. (It is also 2.3% of all American exporters.) Most of these firms export only periodically and in small values. The more significant exporters are manufacturing firms, distributors, or agricultural brokers. In 2010, 1,832 Tennessee manufacturing establishments exported, just over 20% of all of the state's manufacturing plants. They were joined by 1,239 wholesalers and distributors. The economic importance of these establishments becomes clearer if we focus on employment. The one-fifth of manufacturing plants that export account for 44% of the manufacturing employment in this state. More than 182,000 manufacturing jobs are in firms that export. In 2010, the average Tennessee exporting firm produced and shipped goods valued at $13.481 million, a substantial portion of its total output and sales.

Where are these exporters located? Are they concentrated in particular regions of the state, or are they found throughout Tennessee? As might be expected, most exporters are located in the state's major metropolitan areas. The raw count of exporters by county is rather predictable, with the most populous counties having the most exporters. However, even here there are a few surprises, such as the overachieving Hamilton County, which vies with much bigger Shelby for the most exporting establishments. The findings are similar if one examines the percentage of the workforce that is in the export sector. Here Rutherford and Sullivan counties punch above their weight, but the pattern of "the larger the county, the larger the export sector" still holds.

More interesting is adjusting for the size of a county's population and its manufacturing sector. Thirty-nine counties exceed the state average for export intensity, measured as the percentage of manufacturing establishments that export. Fifty-six counties fall below that average. Four counties have no exporters at all. Even when adjusting for the size of the county's population, we see that firms in urban counties remain more likely to export. The counties in the state's largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville) are more export intensive than the rural counties or those in smaller MSAs. A second interesting pattern is geographical. Manufacturers in counties in west Tennessee are generally less likely to export than those in middle or east Tennessee. Only three western counties (Hardeman, Haywood, and Perry) exceed the state average for the percentage of manufacturers that export.

[continued]