Tennessee Q2, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 166,404 employers, up 3.4% from 160,928
  • 3,038,197 employees, up 2.0% from 2,979,820
  • $964 average weekly wage, up 3.3% from $933
  • The average weekly wage is 12.0% 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 5,476, which is an increase of 3.4%. The number of employees in Tennessee increased by 58,377, an increase of 2.0%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $31, an increase of 3.3%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 5,474 or 3.5%. Growth in private businesses in Tennessee grew faster than the national average of 2.9%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 56,952 or 2.2%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Tennessee was faster than the national average of 1.4%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $33 or 3.6%. 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 13.6% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 1.0%. Professional services (11.7%), which increased by 6.2% and Other services (9.4%), which increased by 1.5%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information51414.8%
Transport and warehousing3377.4%
Professional services1,1306.2%
Utilities106.0%
Arts and entertainment1565.3%
Educational services864.9%
Company management594.2%
Real estate and rental2424.1%
Finance and insurance4054.1%
Accommodation and food services5384.0%
Construction4613.8%
Mining and oil extraction83.8%
Manufacturing2413.4%
Waste services3173.3%
Healthcare4403.1%
Other services2371.5%
Retail trade2221.0%
Agriculture and forestry30.3%
Wholesale trade220.2%


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 1.2% in the last year. Manufacturing (11.7%), increased by 1.8% and Retail trade (10.9%), decreased by 1.1%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Transport and warehousing12,9518.1%
Arts and entertainment2,4815.9%
Construction6,8455.5%
Agriculture and forestry3855.2%
Finance and insurance4,9744.5%
Real estate and rental1,5993.9%
Educational services1,8583.9%
Mining and oil extraction1153.3%
Professional services4,5343.2%
Other services2,1162.7%
Accommodation and food services7,3082.4%
Utilities712.0%
Manufacturing6,2701.8%
Waste services2,9101.3%
Wholesale trade1,5631.3%
Healthcare4,5961.2%
Company management5751.1%
Information-513-1.1%
Retail trade-3,831-1.1%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $1,975per week compared with the state average of $961. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $136 or 7.4%. Finance and insurance ($1,527), rose by $60 or 4.1% and Professional services ($1,478) increased by $77 or 5.5% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Waste services$629.1%
Company management$1367.4%
Real estate and rental$586.2%
Professional services$775.5%
Utilities$685.0%
Accommodation and food services$164.3%
Finance and insurance$604.1%
Educational services$364.0%
Arts and entertainment$263.5%
Other services$233.5%
Construction$353.4%
Wholesale trade$423.2%
Retail trade$152.5%
Transport and warehousing$242.3%
Healthcare$212.1%
Manufacturing$141.2%
Mining and oil extraction$151.1%
Agriculture and forestry$-3-0.5%
Information$-40-2.9%


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 6.7% of the businesses in the state (with 11,112 employing 252,800 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 466 more businesses, an increase of 4.4% in the last year. Private households (4.1% of businesses) had 39 fewer businesses, a decline of 0.6% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% of businesses) added 368 businesses, an increase of 8.9% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Broadwoven fabric mills4100.0%
Wheat farming266.7%
Industrial design services654.5%
Other gasoline stations8054.4%
Sea coastal and great lakes transportation350.0%
Pipeline transportation of crude oil150.0%
Crude petroleum extraction450.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Restaurants and other eating places4664.4%
Management consulting services38811.7%
Computer systems design and related services3688.9%
Software publishers34040.4%
Offices of physicians1493.7%
Engineering services1008.1%
Residential building construction944.0%


Employees by Industry

Private households (4.1% of employees) had 39 fewer employees, a decline of 0.6% and Computer systems design and related services (2.7% ofemployees) added 368 employees, an increase of 8.9% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Broilers and meat type chicken production80362.8%
Other sound recording industries110158.4%
Other financial vehicles76117.6%
Paint and coating manufacturing600103.5%
Sports and recreation instruction1,85892.1%
Audio and video equipment manufacturing17980.6%
Scenic and sightseeing transportation other2772.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Restaurants and other eating places6,0352.4%
General warehousing and storage5,64717.7%
Direct life and health insurance carriers3,47228.6%
General freight trucking long-distance2,8246.7%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels2,5467.2%
Telephone call centers1,95514.3%
Electrical and wiring contractors1,86210.7%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Other farm product raw material merch. whls., paying $4,529 compared with the state average of $961. Employees in the Other farm product raw material merch. whls. industry were paid $543 more per week, an increase of 13.6% in the last year. Portfolio management ($3,939) and Securities brokerage ($3,056) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Portfolio management ($3,939 per week) were paid $494 less per week, a decline of 11.1% and Securities brokerage ($3,056 per week) were paid $16 less per week, a decline of 0.5% 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$52596.5%
Independent artists writers and performers$1,09389.5%
Jewelry and silverware manufacturing$36183.6%
Business and secretarial schools$38277.6%
Commodity contracts dealing$59054.1%
Industrial design services$37746.4%
All other support services$69746.4%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Independent artists writers and performers$1,09389.5%
All other support services$69746.4%
Reinsurance carriers$64841.6%
Commodity contracts dealing$59054.1%
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets$56246.3%
Other farm product raw material merch. whls.$54313.6%
Broilers and meat type chicken production$52596.5%


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 92.4%. (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 places11,1124.4%
Private households6,821-0.6%
Computer systems design and related services4,4888.9%
Offices of physicians4,1773.7%
Management consulting services3,70011.7%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores3,2621.1%
Insurance agencies and brokerages2,7603.1%
Offices of lawyers2,5310.5%
Residential building construction2,4684.0%
Accounting and bookkeeping services2,4662.6%


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 places252,8002.4%
General medical and surgical hospitals101,640-1.3%
Temporary help services90,443-0.4%
Offices of physicians66,2841.4%
Management of companies and enterprises51,5791.1%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores48,134-0.1%
General freight trucking long-distance45,0396.7%
Couriers and express delivery services40,2673.4%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters39,5962.3%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels37,7527.2%


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

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Other farm product raw material merch. whls.$4,52913.6%
Portfolio management$3,939-11.1%
Securities brokerage$3,056-0.5%
Other financial vehicles$3,034-33.3%
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,851-0.5%
Miscellaneous intermediation$2,581-4.4%
Fruit and vegetable canning and drying$2,53316.4%
Record production and distribution$2,359-0.3%
Independent artists writers and performers$2,31489.5%
Spectator sports$2,305-17.1%




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.