Since 2000, the number of businesses in the region grew 16%. Among the counties, Knox had the largest number of businesses and gained 14% since 2000. Loudon, had the greatest rate of increase, gaining 50% or about 300 businesses since 2000.
Since 2000, the region experienced 17% growth in jobs, compared to growth in the state (3.1%) and nation (5.2%). However, the region lost more than 37,000 jobs from 2008 to 2011 before gaining 31,000 back from 2011 to 2014. Among the five largest employment sectors, job growth was strongest in Health Care and Social Assistance (38%) and Professional and Business Services (35%). Jobs grew only 7% in the region’s third largest sector, Retail Trade, and decreased by 24% in the Manufacturing sector.
Unemployment in our region was 5.4% in 2015, down from a high of 9.5% in 2009. This compares to 5.8% in the state and 5.3% in the nation in 2015. The region’s total labor force grew 11% between 2000 and 2015, compared to almost 8% in the state and 10% in the nation. Labor force participation in the region was about 61% in 2010-14, slightly lower than the state rate and below the national figure of 64%.
Our region had higher educational attainment than the state in 2010-14, though slightly lower than the nation. Just over 54% of the region’s population had at least some college experience in 2010-14, compared to 52% in the state and 58% nationwide. Among racial/ethnic groups in the region, a higher proportion of white (26%) and Asian (53%) residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010-14, similar to state and national trends.
The average salary in our region was $43,000 in 2014, up 5.5% from 2000. This was lower than the 2014 averages for the state ($45,000) and nation ($51,000). Average salaries were highest for the Information ($75,000) and Utilities ($67,000) sectors in the region.
The Knoxville region’s GDP rose 8.4% between 2005 and 2014, compared to 8.0% for the state and 10.2% for the nation. Per-capita GDP fell by 0.1% over the same time period, compared to a decline of 1.2% in the state and an increase of 2% in the nation.