Forbes lists Tennessee as the 17th best state to do business. While many factors contribute to their selection, manufacturing seems to play an influential role. By simply watching recent corporate investments, everything seems to indicate that statewide manufacturing will continue down the path of economic growth.  There are three main industries accelerating Tennessee’s rise in manufacturing growth.

Chemical and Plastic Products

Chemicals and Plastics maintain a strong presence in Tennessee manufacturing. The Department of Community and Economic Development noted that last year’s chemical production amounted to $4.93 billion. This demonstrates impressive acceleration when only three years ago the total was $2.1 billion in basic chemicals. This sector employs about 48 thousand people and ranks Tennessee as the #12 state for employment in this industry.

Food and Beverage Products

Within the state, we can find some of the most famous food and beverage brands in the world: Jack Daniel’s, Coca Cola, Frito Lay Inc., M & M, Bush Beans, George Dickel, Hillshire Brands, and Kellogg. According to Tennessee’s department of Agriculture, the industry accounts for 1,688 registered processing manufacturers and warehouses. This number of registered manufacturers demonstrates the relevance of this industry within the Tennessee economy.

By 2016, more than $1.11 billion in food and beverage exports from Tennessee reached major markets around the world.  Among the top ten export markets, we find some of the most developed countries in the world and most with a very high consumption index like Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, China, and Belgium.

Automotive and Parts Manufacturing

Recently, several significant investments have made way for the creation of automotive plants for Nissan, Volkswagen, and General Motors. These big brands make the automotive industry the most important sector in the state. Just last year, 6.3% of all the cars made in the United States were manufactured in Tennessee. In 2015, Business Facilities Magazine ranked Tennessee 1st for automotive manufacturing strength and 1st in the southeast for auto industry employment. The automotive arm of Tennessee employs about 4% of the state workers. While we can appreciate cars and parts for the economy of Tennessee, we also should recognize the diversity of their economy as they do not depend on a single industry.

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