Brookings: Metro markets key to export growth

Metropolitan areas will play a major role in increasing U.S. exports, says a new study by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization.

Knoxville is one of the smaller metro markets in the country, but it is holding its own when it comes to export growth, according to “Export Nation,” the study released Monday.

Metro Knoxville currently is the 72nd largest export market in the country, producing about $3.5 billion worth of exported goods and services, the study says.


The metro region’s exports have grown at a rate of about 9.8 percent — about average when compared to the 100 largest metro regions in the country, the report says.

Knoxville area exports account for about 11.6 percent of the Gross Metro Product and support more than 31,500 local jobs.

The area’s major export industries are are Transportation Equipment Manufacturing, Primary Metal Manufacturing, Tourism, Business, Professional, and Technical Services, and Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing.

Doug Lawyer, the Knoxville Chamber’s vice president of economic development, said the chamber works closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Center to help local companies find export opportunities.

“Typically if a company is manufacturing or selling outside this region it can be a stronger company,” “We always like to see companies that are exporting.”

Elsewhere in Tennessee, Nashville is the 36th largest metro exporter with $7.8B in exports; Memphis is 50th with $5.6B; and Chattanooga is 76th with $2.8B.

Full Brookings report

Brookings Knoxville profile