Assessing Advanced Manufacturing in Tennessee

Author: Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Donald J. Bruce, Lawrence M. Kessler, Edward L. Taylor

Publication Date: June 15, 2022

Manufacturing is critically important to the Tennessee economy, representing 14.5 percent of the state’s GDP, 13.3 percent of the state’s private, non-farm employment, and paying an average annual wage that is above the statewide average. However, TN manufacturing employment has declined by more than 28 percent since 2000, mirroring the nationwide experience. In a similar period, national manufacturing output-per-worker (productivity) increased, revealing that the state and U.S. now manufactures more with fewer employees. This increase in productivity is a clear reflection of the effect and importance of what has become known as advanced manufacturing (A-M). What does it mean to be advanced in manufacturing? Are some manufacturing industries more advanced or differently advanced than others? Which states have the biggest share of manufacturing that is advanced? Which locales have or are developing the key attributes necessary to support a robust advanced manufacturing presence? We investigate these questions using input, output, productivity, and other data that are gathered at the national, state, and county levels.