Tennessee Employment Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels

Tennessee nonfarm employment has fully rebounded from the pandemic, surpassing pre-pandemic levels of employment with 45,500 more people holding jobs now than in February 2020. 

The Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report issued by Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office shows that state unemployment dropped to 3.2%, below the national rate of 3.6%.

“Employment exceeding pre-pandemic levels is an important milestone for our state,” said Secretary Hargett. “It reflects Tennessean’s resilience and our leaders’ commitment to a business-friendly environment that encourages investment and job growth. As the economy resets, we are seeing more companies choosing to make Tennessee their new home.”

New business filings in the first quarter of 2022 grew 8.7% from first quarter filings in 2021, marking 42 consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth. Over 77,000 new businesses filed over the past year and 21,353 new entities filed in the first quarter of 2022.

Growth in business filings typically leads to growth in jobs, personal income and state revenue. The largest number of filings in the first quarter were in Shelby County, followed by Davidson, Knox and Hamilton counties. These four most-populous counties accounted for 44.3% of new filings state-wide.

However, most of the year-over-year growth in filings occurred in Tennessee’s other 91 counties. Businesses in those counties expanded by 16.2%, reflecting efforts across the state on workforce development, education, infrastructure and responsible fiscal management.

“Everywhere you look, there’s evidence that the strong economic momentum in Tennessee isn’t slowing down,” said Bill Fox, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research. “Nonfarm employment has not only recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but has exceeded them. Tax revenues are up; personal incomes are up. Our growing economy is not only beneficial to Tennesseans, but attractive to others wanting to move here, too.”

This report provides a snapshot of the state’s economy based on key indicators, including new business data from the Secretary of State’s Division of Business and Charitable Organizations. It is published through a partnership with the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research and the Secretary of State.

To review the complete Q1 2022 Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report, past reports and a teleconference recording about the report with Secretary Hargett and Dr. Fox visit, sos.tn.gov