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Tennessee Trade Facts​

  • In 2018, Tennessee exported $32.7 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from Tennessee supported an estimated 147 thousand jobs

Exports from Tennessee and Jobs

  • Tennessee was the 16th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, Tennessee goods exports were $32.7 billion, an increase of 41 percent ($9.5 billion) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 8.9 percent of Tennessee GDP in 2018.
  • Tennessee goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 147 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Tennessee and Jobs

  • In 2018, Tennessee exported $31.0 billion of manufactured products.
  • Tennessee exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 140 thousand jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $7.1 billion of Tennessee's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($4.7 billion), computer & electronic products ($4.6 billion), miscellaneous manufactured commodities ($3.8 billion), and machinery, except electrical ($3.0 billion).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Tennessee Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 6,961 companies exported from Tennessee locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 5,725 (82 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 15.9 percent of Tennessee's total exports of goods in 2016.

Tennessee Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Tennessee exported $7.9 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 24 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Tennessee’s exports (2018 value) to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$22.3 billion


$9.5 billion

European Union

$6.3 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$2.2 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa

$421 million

  • 51 percent of Tennessee’s exports ($16.8 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in Tennessee depends on Exports

  • Tennessee is the country’s 28th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $1.5 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Tennessee exports of agricultural products supported roughly an estimated 13 thousand jobs in 2013 (latest data available), both on and off the farm.

  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 value) were:


2017 Value

 2017 State Rank


$401 million


other plant products

$216 million



$196 million


feeds and other feed grains

$81 million



$76 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Tennessee

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 177,100 Tennessee workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Tennessee included Japan, the United Kingdom and France.
  • Foreign investment in Tennessee was responsible for 6.5 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

Tennessee’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Tennessee recorded goods exports: Memphis ($11.2 billion), Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro ($10.2 billion), Kingsport ($4.7 billion), Knoxville ($2.4 billion), Chattanooga ($1.4 billion), Cleveland ($559 million), Clarksville ($360.2 million), Jackson ($334 million), Morristown ($303.9 million), Johnson City ($141.9 million).


1Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.