Tennessee: Facts and Figures

Tennessee exports a huge range of goods, from manufactured goods like automobiles and electronics to chemicals and its world-famous whiskey. In 2020, Tennessee exported over $28 billion worth of these goods, helping to support more than 810,000 jobs in the state. Over 83% of Tennessee companies that export their products are also small or medium sized businesses.

Job Creation

  • In Tennessee, 816,200 jobs were supported by international trade in 2018, representing 19.80% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2019, 7,356 companies exported goods from Tennessee of which 83% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2018, 198,700 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.3,4

Exports and Growth

  • Tennessee exported $28.1 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2020, a 9% decline compared to 2019 driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.5
    • Canada ($5.8 billion)
    • Mexico ($3.3 billion)
    • China ($2.6 billion)
    • Japan ($1.8 billion)
    • Netherlands ($1.5 billion)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Tennessee's' economy, totaling $1.5 billion in 2019, according to the USDA.6
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $1 billion in exports from 67 companies in Tennessee.7
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation - which has been modernized into the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) - has invested $124 million in Tennessee companies for overseas investment.8
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $19 million in exports from Tennessee companies, supporting an estimated 110 jobs in the state.9

Education and Research

  • In 2018-2019, 7,151 Tennessee students studied abroad.10
  • During 2020, 7,864 international students were enrolled in Tennessee colleges and universities and contributed $284 million to the Tennessee economy.10

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 1,973 Peace Corps volunteers from Tennessee have served in dozens of countries overseas.11