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Tennessee's Exporters: Change in Concentration



gcspr050407.qxd:gcsum03g.qxd Tennessee exports have grown dramatically over the pastdecade but have also become more concentrated in a handful of industries. Where is this concentration occurring? Which sectors have been gaining or losing importance? Five industries today account for nearly half of state exports. In dollar value, the largest by a substantial margin is the transportation industry. In 2006, it accounted for a fifth of the value of state exports. Behind it is the computer and electronics industry, which has grown rapidly due to newly located assembly plants in the state, particularly the Dell plant in Nashville. The chemical industry, the state’s largest in the early 1990s, still ranks third. The slippage is due more to the success of other export sectors than to any problems with state chemical exporters. Moreover, the state’s leading chemical exporter, Eastman Chemical, has expanded its overseas chemical operations, which substitute for exports from America. The fourth largest export industry is known in U.S. export statistics as “miscellaneous manu- facturing”; for Tennessee this means the medical and phar- maceutical industry and, to a lesser extent, sporting goods. Clearly the most dynamic of the state’s large export indus- tries, medical exports, which include medical instruments, x-ray and diagnostic apparatuses, orthopedics, and medica- ments, have experienced remarkable growth over the past several years. Nonelectrical machinery, long a sizable Ten- nessee export sector, is still the fifth largest by value. T e n n e s s e e a n d t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l E c o n o m y Volume 12 Number 4 Spring 2007 GlobalCommerce TENNESSEE’S EXPORTERS CHANGE IN CONCENTRATION by Steven G. Livingston � • Business and Economic Research Center • Jennings A. Jones College of Business • Middle Tennessee State University • Top Five Industries, by Value of Exports 4 3 2 1 ($ billions) Tra nsp ort ati on Equ ipm ent Co mp ute r a n

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