MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Wednesday, 3/9/22) – For only the second time in the past decade, the Greater Memphis economy grew at a faster pace than the U.S. economy in 2021, according to a new report from the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Center for Economic Competitiveness (CFEC).
Memphis’ gross regional product grew by 6.2% to $4.4 billion in 2021, outpacing the U.S. GDP growth rate of 5.5%, CFEC announced Wednesday in its 2021 in Review Market Report. The growth was driven by strong demand in key industries across Greater Memphis, including in supply chain and logistics, which grew by 13% to end 2021 as a $758 million industry. Advanced manufacturing – another sector that is being heavily recruited by the Chamber – grew by 7% to close the year as a $529 million industry.
Greater Memphis’ economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic stands in sharp contrast to its recovery from the 2008 Great Recession. Memphis took 10 years to recover the jobs it lost in the 2008 recession, but Memphis is already just 1,000 jobs shy of reaching its pre-pandemic jobs numbers and is the second-fastest Tennessee metro when it comes to recovering jobs, behind only Nashville.
Memphis is on pace to make a full jobs recovery quickly, although workforce shortages in hospitality and tourism, healthcare, and education are the primary barriers to full job recovery in the metro.
“Greater Memphis is seeing a faster, V-shaped recovery largely because of the considerable economic momentum it had going into the pandemic,” said Apryl Childs-Potter, executive director of the Center for Economic Competitiveness and the Chamber’s chief marketing officer. “Moving forward, Memphis has an opportunity to recapture that momentum by going all-in on high-growth sectors like logistics technology and advanced manufacturing that are already leading our recovery.”
As part of its soon-to-be-released Vision 2030 plan, the Chamber has set a bold goal of adding 50,000 quality jobs by 2030. To meet that goal, the Chamber is working to diversify the region’s mix of industries by targeting industries like advanced manufacturing for recruitment. Per CFEC’s Market Report, Greater Memphis made substantial progress toward the goal in 2021, which was the region’s best year ever for economic development. Advanced manufacturing projects – including Ford and SK Innovation’s $5.6 billion Blue Oval City, which will employ nearly 6,000 people – accounted for 31% of the economic development projects announced over the course of the year.
Media contact: Ryan Poe, director of communications, Greater Memphis Chamber.
About the Greater Memphis Chamber: One of Memphis’ oldest institutions, dating back to 1838, the Greater Memphis Chamber is a privately funded nonprofit that serves as the region’s lead economic development organization and the “Voice of Memphis Business” at the local, state, and national levels. The Chamber’s mission is to relentlessly pursue prosperity for all — through economic and workforce development, pro-growth advocacy, and by providing support and resources to its investors, including many of the region’s largest employers. For more information about the Chamber, visit memphischamber.com and memphismoves.com. Also, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Memphis Fourword.
About the Center for Economic Competitiveness: The Center for Economic Competitiveness (CFEC) was created by the Greater Memphis Chamber in 2021 to gather and analyze the data of the region and its peers and then create strategies to address the market’s challenges and capitalize on its opportunities. In keeping with the Chamber’s mission to relentlessly pursue prosperity for all, CFEC regularly releases reports on the market and its industries. To learn more, visit CFEC’s webpage on the Chamber’s website.