1st Quarter 2012

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Regional Patterns

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If we define dynamism as involvement in those sectors with the most rapidly growing exports, we can create a similar county map. America has 15 industries (at the 5-digit NAICS level) for which exports have grown by more than two-thirds over the past five years. Given the smaller number of firms in these industries, we map each county by the number rather than the percentage of firms in these industries. Comparing this map to the first reveals a similar pattern. The most dynamic export industries are disproportionately located in the counties surrounding Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville as well as the Tri-Cities area. The strong position of Hamilton County is the biggest difference in the two maps. Shelby County is well represented, but its surrounding counties are not. Unfortunately, these two maps suggest that the wealthier, more globalized parts of the state are best positioned to benefit from further globalization. Other areas of the state are less vested in the economic sectors that appear most likely to gain from the world economy.

Just as the capacity to export suggests an ability to prosper in a more globalized world, a vulnerability to import competition suggests a more difficult future. Locales in which firms are subject to pressure from lower-cost international competitors are those most likely to suffer in the years ahead.

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Number of Establishments in America's Fastest-Growing Export Industries

percent of foreign-born population 2005-2009
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