Tennessee Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 168,899 employers, up 3.0% from 163,910
  • 3,074,358 employees, up 1.5% from 3,028,088
  • $1,047 average weekly wage, up 1.6% from $1,031
  • The average weekly wage is 11.6% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 11.3% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 4,989, which is an increase of 3.0%. The number of employees in Tennessee increased by 46,270, an increase of 1.5%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $16, an increase of 1.6%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 4,883 or 3.1%. Growth in private businesses in Tennessee grew faster than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 46,449 or 1.8%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Tennessee was faster than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $17 or 1.6%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Tennessee grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 13.3% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 0.0%. Professional services (11.8%), which increased by 5.3% and Other services (9.6%), which increased by 2.8%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information47413.0%
Transport and warehousing2645.6%
Professional services1,0015.3%
Arts and entertainment1494.9%
Educational services864.8%
Finance and insurance4134.2%
Construction4493.7%
Real estate and rental2093.5%
Manufacturing2313.2%
Accommodation and food services4023.0%
Other services4352.8%
Company management392.7%
Healthcare3952.7%
Waste services2442.5%
Utilities42.3%
Agriculture and forestry60.7%
Wholesale trade550.4%
Retail trade110.0%
Mining and oil extraction00.0%


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 1.5% in the last year. Manufacturing (11.5%), decreased by 0.2% and Retail trade (11.0%), decreased by 1.3%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Agriculture and forestry6498.6%
Transport and warehousing11,7196.8%
Arts and entertainment2,6046.8%
Finance and insurance5,8325.3%
Professional services6,9434.9%
Construction5,0103.9%
Mining and oil extraction1243.5%
Company management1,6523.3%
Information1,3803.1%
Educational services1,5063.0%
Utilities892.5%
Other services1,9102.4%
Real estate and rental9572.3%
Accommodation and food services5,7271.9%
Healthcare5,7541.5%
Wholesale trade1,0700.9%
Manufacturing-751-0.2%
Waste services-1,352-0.6%
Retail trade-4,522-1.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $1,963per week compared with the state average of $1,055. Weekly wages in this sector declined by $170 or 8.0%. Finance and insurance ($1,741), declined by $17 or 1.0% and Professional services ($1,731) increased by $108 or 6.7% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Information$1349.7%
Professional services$1086.7%
Utilities$795.2%
Real estate and rental$555.1%
Waste services$294.0%
Other services$253.5%
Accommodation and food services$133.3%
Educational services$303.2%
Mining and oil extraction$392.9%
Manufacturing$242.0%
Wholesale trade$191.3%
Construction$151.2%
Retail trade$20.3%
Healthcare$20.2%
Finance and insurance$-17-1.0%
Transport and warehousing$-11-1.0%
Agriculture and forestry$-12-1.6%
Company management$-170-8.0%
Arts and entertainment$-237-14.9%


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 11,219 employing 249,429 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 319 more businesses, an increase of 2.9% in the last year. Private households (4.3% of businesses) added 132 businesses, an increase of 1.9% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% of businesses) added 266 businesses, an increase of 6.1% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Communication and energy wire and cable mfg.266.7%
Crude petroleum extraction562.5%
Other gasoline stations7852.7%
Pipeline transportation of crude oil150.0%
Financial transaction processing and clearing6644.9%
All other crop farming1144.0%
Other financial vehicles1043.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Management consulting services41611.9%
Software publishers35638.0%
Restaurants and other eating places3192.9%
Computer systems design and related services2666.1%
Private households1321.9%
Residential building construction1034.3%
Insurance agencies and brokerages853.1%


Employees by Industry

Private households (4.3% of employees) added 132 employees, an increase of 1.9% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% ofemployees) added 266 employees, an increase of 6.1% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Broilers and meat type chicken production86401.8%
Other sound recording industries101135.5%
Other financial vehicles84108.2%
Paint and coating manufacturing605104.4%
Scenic and sightseeing transportation other38103.8%
All other crop farming8093.8%
Stationery product manufacturing47170.8%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
General warehousing and storage5,97816.4%
Direct life and health insurance carriers4,78341.6%
Restaurants and other eating places4,3381.8%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels2,4716.9%
Management consulting services2,0987.6%
Couriers and express delivery services1,7664.2%
Software publishers1,71248.5%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Portfolio management, paying $8,505 compared with the state average of $1,055. Employees in the Portfolio management industry were paid $1,217 more per week, an increase of 16.7% in the last year. Spectator sports ($4,970) and Musical groups and artists ($4,893) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Spectator sports ($4,970 per week) were paid $2,062 less per week, a decline of 29.3% and Musical groups and artists ($4,893 per week) were paid $2,666 less per week, a decline of 35.3% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Marketing research and public opinion polling$2,234163.3%
Jewelry and silverware manufacturing$38682.1%
All other professional and technical services$99178.2%
Broilers and meat type chicken production$44473.4%
All other personal services$35669.0%
Commodity contracts dealing$65459.7%
Health and welfare funds$54055.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Marketing research and public opinion polling$2,234163.3%
Portfolio management$1,21716.7%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$99650.0%
All other professional and technical services$99178.2%
Miscellaneous intermediation$94025.2%
Record production and distribution$91237.9%
Reinsurance carriers$79942.0%


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 91.2%. (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%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places11,2192.9%
Private households7,2081.9%
Computer systems design and related services4,6306.1%
Offices of physicians4,1601.7%
Management consulting services3,91411.9%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores3,2530.6%
Insurance agencies and brokerages2,8143.1%
Offices of lawyers2,5440.1%
Residential building construction2,5154.3%
Accounting and bookkeeping services2,4701.3%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places249,4291.8%
General medical and surgical hospitals102,625-0.4%
Temporary help services95,715-3.6%
Offices of physicians67,9372.4%
Management of companies and enterprises52,2723.3%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores48,2430.1%
General freight trucking long-distance45,4730.8%
Couriers and express delivery services43,4754.2%
General warehousing and storage42,64916.4%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters38,704-3.0%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Portfolio management$8,50516.7%
Spectator sports$4,970-29.3%
Musical groups and artists$4,893-35.3%
Miscellaneous intermediation$4,66525.2%
Agents and managers for public figures$3,94516.5%
Pesticide and other ag. chemical mfg.$3,904-16.9%
Independent artists writers and performers$3,6244.2%
Marketing research and public opinion polling$3,602163.3%
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,60110.3%
Securities brokerage$3,56912.3%




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.