Report: TN manufacturing strong, education weak

1205_KCLO_glass03357.JPGManufacturing is doing well in Tennessee, but growth is being held back by “the relatively low level of educational achievement of its adults,” according to a report released today by Ball State University.

Tennessee received a B for manufacturing and a B+ for logistics in the 2013 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card prepared by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

In stark contrast,the report gave Tennessee a D- in Human Capital, a category that includes the level of high school and collegiate achievement, the number of associates degrees awarded annually per capita and other educational measures.

“Tennessee continues to be strong manufacturing state, limited in growth by the relatively low level of educational achievement of its adults,” says Ball State’s Michael Hicks, CBER director and economics professor. “This year the state saw the scorecard register improvements in tax climate and the expected fiscal liability gap.  These two changes suggest that Tennessee will see improved prospects for manufacturing.  Still, the only real constraint to making goods in Tennessee remains the quality limitations of the workforce.”

The report compares all 50 states in a variety of categories that influence economic success.

Tennessee also earned B or B+ in Worker Benefit Costs, Expected Liability Gap, Global Reach and Sector Diversification. The state received a C for Tax Climate and a C- for Productivity and Innovation.

The only real surprise is the Tax Climate grade, but Tennessee’s high sales tax rate probably cost it a letter grade.

In evaluating each state’s tax climate, the Ball State study considered ranks of corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment insurance and property taxes.

Click here for the Ball State report.

Photo: In this December 2012 photo, a worker at Kimble Chase LLC in Rockwood, Tenn., checks out machinery used to make glass vials, pipettes and culture tubes. (Bob Fowler/Knoxville News Sentinel)