Report Says Tennessee Manufacturing Growth Limited By Education

Jun 21, 2013


A new report finds that Tennessee’s manufacturing sector is strong, but its growth is limited by worker education.

The 2013 Manufacturing & Logistics National Report was compiled by Conexus Indiana and released by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research. The report analyzes the manufacturing and logistics sectors in each state, measuring different economic factors with an impact on those sectors, including industry health, human capital, cost of worker benefits, industry diversification, state-level productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, tax climate and global reach.

According to the report, manufacturing makes up almost 9% of Tennessee’s economy, with earnings from manufacturing jobs of more than $20.7 million.

The report gave Tennessee a B for manufacturing and a B+ for logistics. B is the state average on that report since 2009. But Tennessee has also received D’s on “human capital” since 2009, with D- grades for the last two years. The state did see improvements this year in tax climate and fiscal liability. 

Ball State’s CBER director and economics professor Michael Hicks says Tennessee’s only constraint to manufacturing is the relatively low level of adult educational achievement. Hicks said educational achievement also hinders manufacturing expansion in Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky.