Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research Director Bill Fox and Associate Director Matt Murray told a crowd of nearly 200 business members on Sept. 8 that the Tennessee economy is expected to continue to grow in 2017.
The Boyd Center, housed in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, held its first economic forecasting luncheon to share what the nation and state’s economy could look like in the coming new year.
Tennessee is in the top 10 states in the nation in terms of economic momentum and one of the fastest in growth, Boyd experts said. Tennesseans are spending “aggressively” and at a fast rate, as strong job growth and lower gas prices are putting more money in consumer’s pockets, according to Fox and Murray.
The state also has consistently experienced stronger job growth than the national average over the past several years, while its unemployment rate is now below the national rate. In 2009, Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached 11.1 percent. This year, the state’s unemployment rate has plummeted to just above 4 percent. The nation’s average is just below 5 percent.
The pair also noted that Tennessee’s tax revenue growth is solid. Sales taxes, in particular, are showing strong growth at nearly unprecedented levels.
“You can see the outlook going forward is generally positive growth in the national economy and the state economy, barring some unforeseen shock,” Murray said. “We expect the economy to continue to grow.”