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TNSoS: Latest Quaterly Business Report Shows State Economy Growing

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett; February 24, 2015:

More than 7,000 new businesses were formed in Tennessee during the final quarter of last year, according to a new economic report. The number of new businesses created during the fourth quarter of 2014 was up 8.8 percent from the same time period during the previous year.

The reports are produced quarterly by the Secretary of State’s office and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Center for Business and Economic Research. They draw on information provided to the Secretary of State’s office regarding business filings and dissolutions, as well as other economic information drawn from other sources.

The report can be found online at http://tn.gov/sos/be_reports/201502.pdf

“The increase in the number of new business filings is a positive sign for the state’s economy,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It is one of several encouraging economic indicators that can be found in our latest report.”

Statewide, personal income growth is up 3.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Total tax revenues grew 4.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year.

Non-farm employment increased 2.4 percent. However, the state’s unemployment rate remains a full percentage point above the national average.

Nationally, there are promising signs as well. The gross domestic product and sales of light vehicles continued to grow, while gasoline prices were at a five-year low.

Haslam Announces Workforce Development Grant In Whiteville

Press Release from the Tennessee Governor’s Office, Oct. 21, 2013;

WHITEVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Monday announced a workforce development grant of $126,549 for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Whiteville to enhance the machine tool program at the school’s extension campus in Brownsville.

The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development programs at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges, part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials.

These strategic investments resulted from the governor meeting with businesses and education officials across the state last fall to better understand workforce development needs. One of the most common themes he heard was the lack of capacity and equipment at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges to meet job demand, so these grants are aimed at addressing those gaps.

“This grant will provide upgrades to equipment for hands-on learning in the metal working field at the school,” Haslam said. “We will need qualified Tennesseans to fill skilled positions in the workforce, and these programs help fill that need.”

Currently, only 32 percent of Tennesseans have certificates or degrees beyond high school, and studies show that by 2025 that number must be 55 percent to meet workforce demands. Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative is designed to address that workforce need on several fronts, including the funds for the state’s colleges of applied technology and community colleges.

The equipment at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Whiteville will be a computer numerical control lathe and a vertical machining center. This state-of-the-art equipment better prepares the school to address needs with advanced technology in high-quality academic programs. Tennessee is seeing growth in manufacturing, and manufacturing sector employment gains are expected to continue to rise in the state, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.

TN Economy Said to Be Improving Despite Stagnant Jobs Climate

Although Tennessee’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged for the past three months, the state’s economic outlook is nevertheless improving, driven by growth in the Middle Tennessee region.

That was the take-home message from Dr. David Penn, director of the Middle Tennessee State University Business and Economic Research Center, who delivered remarks at MTSU’s Economic Outlook Conference on Sept. 27.

“Employment is still growing by one-point-seven percent every year. Depending on what happens with government employment, it’s conceivable Tennessee could reach recovery to pre-recession levels within about 12 to 18 months, at [the current] rate of growth,” said Penn.

The Tennessee heartland continues to show economic improvement, but growth has slowed across other parts of the state, Penn said, adding that statewide sales tax collections appear to be braking. The recovery’s sluggishness is actually due in no small part to the economic woes of Tennessee’s overseas trading partners, such as Japan, China and the European Union — and in general the state’s reliance on exports, he said.

Although the number of new unemployment claims is at its lowest level since 2007, and is continuing to slowly fall, the state’s unemployment rate has in fact slowly increased over the year, holding steady at eight-and-a-half percent for the past few months, despite a decline in the number of layoffs, Penn said.

Tennessee is still among the top 10 states for high unemployment rates, he added.

But the unemployment rate will be the last number to change as a result of former workers rejoining the labor force at a faster rate than jobs are created, and should not be considered an indicator of improvement, or the lack of it, in the economy, Penn said.

“[The] labor force [number] has hardly changed over the year,” Penn said. “What’s happening here is that folks are jumping back into the labor force after jumping out in 2010, when the participation rates dropped fairly significantly. They’re jumping back in, [and] the number of jobs is just barely growing enough to absorb them, keeping the unemployment rate almost unchanged over the year.”

Additionally, the rate of growth in real earned income has been “accelerating generally” since early 2012, and has been increasing at about the same pace as the national growth rate, Penn said.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are for the most part located in the Middle Tennessee. Several of them are about two percentage points below the state average.

Rutherford and Williamson Counties both place high on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list comparing job and wage growth in the 334 largest counties nationwide, with Rutherford ranking sixth and Williamson coming in at 15 in job growth.

However, when it comes to wage growth, Williamson far outpaces Rutherford, coming in at eighth while Rutherford lags behind at 249.

Davidson comes in at No. 86 nationally for job growth and No. 254 for wages. Knox, Hamilton and Shelby are also included on the list, coming in ranked at Nos. 260, 193 and 186, respectively, in employment, and 12, 290 and 216 for wages.

The Metro Nashville region, which includes Murfreesboro and Franklin, ranks No. 1 in private sector job growth among the largest metropolitan areas in the United States with a growth rate of four-and-a-half percent, according to BLS statistics. Private sector job growth rates for most of the counties in the Nashville area are much higher than the Tennessee state average of about two percent, with Rutherford County’s growth rate at almost eight percent, while Williamson County’s is about five percent and Davidson is at three-and-a-half percent.

“Job creation is booming for the Nashville Metro [area],” Penn said.

State ECD Chief Touts Main Street Christmas Events

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development; November 20, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The holiday season is in full swing on Tennessee’s Main Streets, and there are plenty of special activities for everyone — from the young to the young at heart. Tennessee Main Street holiday events support the historic downtown districts of communities all across the state and encourage shopping locally.

“A thriving downtown district where citizens support small businesses and spend time together is a significant driver of economic development that contributes to the overall quality of life in our communities,” Bill Hagerty, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “Celebrating the holiday season in your own community is not only a rewarding way to connect with your historic downtown district, but it can also be a substantial catalyst for the local economy.”

Saturday, Nov. 24, is the perfect time to kick off holiday shopping with Small Business Saturday®, a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. Join the U.S. Small Business Administration and organizations across the country by shopping at a local small business in your town. For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/.

“The holiday season is always an exciting time for Main Street communities all across the state,” Kimberly Nyberg, ECD Tennessee Main Street director, said. “I encourage you to visit your historic downtown district this holiday season and show your support for local businesses and entrepreneurs in your area.”

Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district.

Tennessee’s Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.

For a listing of Tennessee Main Street holiday events, please visit http://www.tn.gov/ecd/pdfs/2012HolidayEvents.pdf.

Haslam: Nissan Adding Night Shift, 810 Jobs to Smyrna Plant

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; October 19, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Nissan will add 810 new jobs at its Smyrna vehicle assembly plant for a third shift at the site.

The third shift for the Nissan plant is the company’s first ever at the plant in its nearly 30-year history in Smyrna, and with this announcement, the company has added more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs in Tennessee since mid-2011.

Nissan, founded in Japan, began its Smyrna plant in 1983. The plant has an annual production capacity of 550,000 vehicles on a capital investment of $2.5 billion.

“Nissan and Tennessee have enjoyed a long and successful partnership, and this announcement shows the strength of the company and the market demand for its products,” Haslam said. “Nissan and our existing industries are very important to the state’s economy and the citizens they employ, and I want to congratulate and thank Nissan on today’s announcement and the new jobs it means for Tennessee.”

Nissan North America is headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. The Smyrna plant is one of three Nissan production sites in the United States, the others in Decherd, Tenn., and Canton, Miss.

“Our investment in creating hundreds of new jobs demonstrates Nissan’s long-time commitment to our employees, Smyrna, and the state of Tennessee,” Nissan Americas Vice Chairman Bill Krueger said. “The dedicated workforce in Tennessee continues to build high-quality vehicles that compete and win globally, and we’re committed to ensuring this doesn’t change.”

The announcement was made at the 59th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Global Reach, Local Impact.” Haslam said the Nissan move reflects the spirit of the conference.

“Nissan has been instrumental in putting Tennessee on the map in auto manufacturing,” Haslam said. “This announcement bolsters what has been a highly successful business story in our state.”

Haslam Joins Economic Delegation on Trip to Japan

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; Sept. 7, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will travel to Japan next week with a delegation made up of business leaders and economic development officials from across the state.

“Tennessee has had a successful and growing relationship with Japanese companies for nearly three decades,” Haslam said. “I look forward to honoring and reinforcing the meaningful, lasting relationships between our state and Japan.”

There are 133 Japanese companies in Tennessee, representing more than $14 billion in capital investment and making Japan Tennessee’s No. 1 direct foreign investor. Japanese companies employ 33,000 Tennesseans with companies like Nissan, Bridgestone and Denso leading the way.

Last year, $1.6 billion dollars in Tennessee goods were exported to Japan, the state’s fourth largest export destination in the world. Tennessee also ranked in the top 10 of all U.S. states for Japanese exports.

The governor will meet with Japanese companies that have a presence in Tennessee, and the delegation will join delegations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina to take part in the 35th annual Southeast U.S. Japan/Association (SEUS) meeting to promote trade, investment and understanding between Japan and the southeastern region of the U.S.

Since 2003, the seven SEUS member states have accounted for almost one-third of all Japanese investment in the United States. In 2012, the seven SEUS states exported almost $7 billion in goods to Japan.

This is Haslam’s first official visit to Japan as governor.

Genesee A&B to Expand Mt. Juliet Facility, Add 34 Jobs

Press release from the Department of Economic & Community Development; August 13, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today joined with Genesee A&B representatives to announce plans to expand its Mt. Juliet facility, located at 8111 Eastgate Boulevard. The expansion represents an investment of $2.1 million and the creation of 34 manufacturing jobs.

“Congratulations to Genesee A&B on its expansion, and I thank the company for its continued investment in Wilson County and the additional jobs they will create,” Hagerty said. “Our department is committed to reaching Governor Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Genesee A&B is a custom metal parts manufacturer with locations in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. and Grand Prairie, TX. With over 50 years of experience, the company is a supplier to global OEMs in industries such as office machine, telecommunications, electronics, computer, medical, security hardware, automotive and transportation, HVAC and aircraft.

“Due to increasing demand and steady growth, the investment in our Mt. Juliet facility will allow us to better serve the needs of our customers,” Jeff Wilson, general manager, Genesee A&B, said. “We appreciate the support from local and state officials to make this expansion a reality and look forward to continually being a part of the Wilson County community.”

“Genesee A&B is recognized as one of the top tier facilities for custom metal-formed components, and its ability to provide a ‘one source’ solution to its OEM customers offers many advantages in this highly competitive market,” G.C. Hixson, executive director, Joint Economic & Community Development Board of Wilson County, said. “Wilson County is fortunate to have Genesee A&B as one of our advanced manufacturers, and we thank the company for its many contributions to our community.”

Applicants interested in a position with Genesee A&B can apply in person at the Mt. Juliet facility.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tn.gov/ecd. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.

TNGOP: ‘Economic Drought’ Continues

Statement from the Tennessee Republican Party; July 6, 2012:  

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement on the June unemployment report, which shows the unemployment rate remaining at 8.2%-

“Today’s jobs report shows that we remain in an economic drought, and it’s clear that Obama’s destructive policies have failed to provide much-needed relief for so many families.

“As President Obama’s first term winds down, the choice becomes more clear- either month after month of 8% or higher unemployment with President Obama or a real jobs plan with Mitt Romney that will get people back to work.”

Labor Dept.: Nearly 3K Jobless Tennesseans Quit Looking for Work Last Month

The state’s unemployment rate continues to drop, but officials who track workforce trends say some of that decrease can be attributed to thousands of out-of-work Tennesseans who have stopped looking for work.

“I do think there are some folks who have just permanently, or almost permanently, taken themselves out of the job market saying, ‘I have given up,’” Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters after speaking at the American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State assembly at Lipscomb University Tuesday.

According to Tennessee Department of Labor statistics, almost 3,000 people who were part of the labor force in March stopped looking for work the very next month, joining a category economists call “discouraged workers.”

Over the last few months, the number of discouraged workers has slowly dropped from this year’s high of more than 21,000 people. The figure popped back up to 18,970 in April, a 14 percent increase from March, according to estimates from the monthly Tennessee Labor Force Estimates summary, monthly unemployment insurance claims reports, the 2000 census and national unemployment statistics.

Discouraged workers make up 7.3 percent of the 259,340 out-of-work Tennesseans. In January, the figure was 7 percent.

Workers are classified as discouraged if they have searched for work during the prior year and are explicitly reported as currently available for work, but have stopped looking.

“While Tennessee’s unemployment rate has declined for nine consecutive months, April’s decrease is mostly attributable to a shrinking labor force,” said Karla Davis, Tennessee Department of Labor Commissioner. “This is similar to the monthly change that occurred on the national level.”

The state’s 7.8 percent unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since November 2008 at the beginning of the recession. It is still below the national average of 8.1 percent.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate ranks just above the bottom third in the nation.

Of the state’s 95 counties, those with the highest unemployment rate are all outside the state’s major metro areas. While their rates are still the highest, they have all dropped in the last month.

Here are the 10 counties with the greatest and smallest share of jobless workers, their unemployment rates and explanations given by the state:

  • Scott, 15.4 percent. Increase in construction, trade, & manufacturing; rate still high from manufacturing layoffs.
  • Obion, 12.7 percent. Transportation reduction ended; rate still high from continuing decreases in manufacturing.
  • Pickett, 12.1 percent. Seasonal increase in trade & leisure; rate still high from manufacturing layoffs.
  • Lauderdale, 11.9 percent. Rate is high from continuing reductions in manufacturing.
  • Perry, 11.6 percent. Rate still high from declines in manufacturing & construction.
  • Marshall, 11.2 percent. Rate remains high due to declines in manufacturing.
  • Hancock, 10.9 percent. Rate remains high due to previous layoffs in manufacturing.
  • Weakley, 10.9 percent. Rate is high from layoffs in administrative support & other services.
  • Haywood, 10.8 percent. Rates still high from declines in manufacturing.
  • Lawrence, 10.6 percent. Rate remains high due to declines in manufacturing.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rate include:

  • Williamson, 5.3 percent. No significant change.
  • Lincoln, 5.5 percent. No significant change.
  • Knox, 5.8 percent. No significant change.
  • Loudon, 6.2 percent. Increases in surrounding counties.
  • Blount, 6.3 percent. Increases in retail trade & leisure/hospitality
  • Wilson, 6.3 percent. No significant change.
  • Washington, 6.4 percent. No significant change.
  • Sullivan, 6.4 percent. Increases in manufacturing, retail trade, & leisure/hospitality.
  • Davidson, 6.5 percent. No significant change.
  • Sumner, 6.6 percent. No significant change.

Haslam Administration Launches New Jobs Database

Press Release from Gov. Bill Haslam; May 14, 2012: 

Jobs4TN Online Brings Self-Service Functions to Job Seekers, Employers

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis today announced a new jobs database to help connect job seekers with Tennessee employers.

Jobs4TN Online is a virtual recruiter, automatically notifying job seekers when jobs they may qualify for are posted and notifying employers when candidates who fit their needs register.

The online database contains positions from job orders placed directly by Tennessee employers, from corporate Internet sites, and from major job search engines. Jobs4TN Online also identifies available green jobs.

“The unemployment rate for Tennessee is at its lowest since November 2008 and has fallen below the national rate, but it is still too high,” Haslam said. The governor committed to developing a new jobs database during his gubernatorial campaign. “With Jobs4TN Online, those without a job will have quicker and better access to job openings related to their skills, and as we work to make Tennessee an even better place to expand and start a business, we want to help employers find the employees they need.”

Jobs4TN Online makes available labor market information, including demand occupations, education requirements and salaries for positions, labor force projections, and training program graduates. Information can be tailored to focus on specific communities, metro statistical areas or statewide. Employers and job seekers are encouraged to log in to Jobs4TN Online at www.jobs4tn.gov.

“This system is much more than a traditional job search engine,” Davis said. “Jobs4TN Online offers extensive information for interviews, lists of local training providers, and the capability to create and send resumes.”

The state’s previous job search site, the Source, included job orders received by Tennessee Career Centers and jobs listed by Fortune 500 companies. Jobs4TN Online uses a more robust search that provides first-run jobs from newspapers, government sites and private job boards, and the amount of jobs listed in Tennessee has gone from 30,000 to more than 85,000.

Jobs4TN Online can be accessed anywhere with a computer and Internet access. Tennessee Career Centers across the state have free computer resource rooms with guidance on job searching. For anyone not comfortable with using a computer, referrals can be provided in person at the center once they have registered for services. To find the nearest Tennessee Career Center visit http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/cc/cccounty.shtml.

Also, Tennessee Career Coaches are another available resource. They are mobile career centers with computer workstations and access to the Internet anywhere by satellite. Three mobile units operate in east, west, and middle Tennessee to provide job searching resources to those attending job events or to those that don’t have access to the Internet. The Career Coaches’ schedules can be found at http://www.getonthecoach.tn.gov/.