Tennessee Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 166,151 employers, up 4.2% from 159,481
  • 2,990,209 employees, up 2.1% from 2,927,247
  • $996 average weekly wage, up 1.9% from $977
  • The average weekly wage is 15.9% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 10.5% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 6,670, which is an increase of 4.2%. The number of employees in Tennessee increased by 62,962, an increase of 2.1%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $19, an increase of 1.9%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 6,662 or 4.3%. Growth in private businesses in Tennessee grew faster than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 58,621 or 2.3%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Tennessee was faster than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $20 or 2.0%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Tennessee grew slower than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 13.6% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 1.8%. Professional services (11.6%), which increased by 6.5% and Other services (9.6%), which increased by 4.9%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information48114.2%
Utilities1710.6%
Transport and warehousing3708.3%
Educational services1126.5%
Professional services1,1866.5%
Arts and entertainment1766.0%
Company management846.0%
Other services7484.9%
Waste services4494.8%
Finance and insurance4304.4%
Construction5114.3%
Real estate and rental2444.2%
Accommodation and food services5284.0%
Manufacturing2693.9%
Healthcare5023.5%
Mining and oil extraction73.4%
Retail trade3951.8%
Wholesale trade1251.0%
Agriculture and forestry70.8%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 12.4% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.0% in the last year. Manufacturing (11.8%), increased by 2.0% and Retail trade (11.1%), decreased by 0.1%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment2,4697.3%
Transport and warehousing11,1317.0%
Construction6,5215.5%
Finance and insurance5,0214.6%
Utilities1263.6%
Mining and oil extraction1233.6%
Real estate and rental1,3933.5%
Professional services4,5973.3%
Accommodation and food services8,3282.9%
Other services1,9592.5%
Agriculture and forestry1772.5%
Waste services4,9682.3%
Educational services1,1072.3%
Wholesale trade2,3942.0%
Manufacturing6,8642.0%
Healthcare3,5741.0%
Retail trade-437-0.1%
Company management-280-0.5%
Information-1,489-3.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,751per week compared with the state average of $1,009. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $230 or 9.1%. Finance and insurance ($1,850), rose by $23 or 1.3% and Professional services ($1,631) declined by $53 or 3.1% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Company management$2309.1%
Waste services$497.2%
Educational services$495.7%
Construction$505.0%
Real estate and rental$454.5%
Accommodation and food services$154.2%
Other services$264.0%
Utilities$593.9%
Agriculture and forestry$243.8%
Retail trade$132.2%
Wholesale trade$312.2%
Healthcare$171.8%
Finance and insurance$231.3%
Manufacturing$131.1%
Transport and warehousing$80.8%
Arts and entertainment$-20-2.1%
Mining and oil extraction$-43-2.7%
Professional services$-53-3.1%
Information$-92-5.9%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Tennessee. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.6% of the businesses in the state (with 11,031 employing 242,913 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 436 more businesses, an increase of 4.1% in the last year. Private households (4.2% of businesses) added 444 businesses, an increase of 6.7% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% of businesses) added 365 businesses, an increase of 9.0% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Broadwoven fabric mills4100.0%
Automobile and light truck manufacturing777.8%
Other performing arts companies360.0%
Other gasoline stations8456.8%
Industrial design services654.5%
Scenic and sightseeing transportation land853.3%
Sea coastal and great lakes transportation350.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Private households4446.7%
Restaurants and other eating places4364.1%
Management consulting services40512.5%
Computer systems design and related services3659.0%
Software publishers30239.6%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters18413.2%
Offices of physicians1513.7%


Employees by Industry

Private households (4.2% of employees) added 444 employees, an increase of 6.7% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% ofemployees) added 365 employees, an increase of 9.0% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Broilers and meat type chicken production77341.8%
Other sound recording industries101164.6%
Audio and video equipment manufacturing205108.0%
Paint and coating manufacturing599106.0%
Sports and recreation instruction1,32570.3%
Local messengers and local delivery58662.1%
Stationery product manufacturing40057.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Restaurants and other eating places6,2882.6%
Direct life and health insurance carriers3,43928.4%
General freight trucking long-distance3,2147.7%
General warehousing and storage3,0479.1%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels2,6398.0%
Telephone call centers2,62719.4%
Couriers and express delivery services1,4373.7%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Private households ($4) and Computer systems design and related services ($3) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Private households ($4 per week) were paid $444 more per week, an increase of 6.7% and Computer systems design and related services ($3 per week) were paid $365 more per week, an increase of 9.0% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Broilers and meat type chicken production$776148.9%
Document preparation services$924111.5%
Cut and sew apparel contractors$523109.6%
Floor covering stores$86899.7%
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets$1,57098.7%
Stationery product manufacturing$58960.4%
Accessories and other apparel manufacturing$24257.1%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Other financial vehicles$1,59536.5%
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets$1,57098.7%
Document preparation services$924111.5%
Floor covering stores$86899.7%
Broilers and meat type chicken production$776148.9%
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$65128.2%
Stationery product manufacturing$58960.4%


Company Size

Tennessee Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Tennessee by far. 55.2% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 152,768 small businesses in the state represent 94.4% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.9%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Tennessee added 6,662 businesses in the last year, an increase of 4.3% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 6,473 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 4.4% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 187 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 2 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.5% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Tennessee Employees by Business Size

Tennessee added 175,862 employees in the last year, an increase of 7.4% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 87,584 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 134.4% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 69,990 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 7.2% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 18,288 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 4.0% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

Tennessee Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in Tennessee (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 3.2% more than the national average ($1,038 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Tennessee (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 29.7% workers below the national average ($1,475 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $118 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.4% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $63 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $31 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 1.2% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.