When “thinking money” and evaluating the financial health of our metro area, it is important to take a look at business dynamics: employment rates, job creation, number of businesses, openings and closings, and the number of startups in the community. Statistics focusing on these measures are compiled by the agencies such as U.S. Census Bureau and studied by organizations like U.S. Center for Economic Studies. A healthy economy is marked by growth, with each metropolitan area relying on their unique characteristics to build productivity and ensure prosperity for local citizens.
Memphis has a rich history of business successes. From the beginning, the city capitalized on its distinctive location, perched atop the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Centered among the farms of the mid-south and the more industrial economies to the north and east, Memphis quickly became a leader in agriculture, distribution, and transportation. Those early successes lead to an expansion into other industries, and the city began to see a rise in businesses like banks, insurance companies, and manufacturing firms. Today, healthcare has become one of the region’s leading employment sectors, along with increases in entertainment and hospitality.
Despite past successes, the Memphis Metro Area faces its fair share of challenges moving forward. The Metro Area is below the national average on indicators like household income and wages, where the average hourly wage across all occupations is more than $3 less than the national average. However, there have been some indicators that show improvement in recent years, including increased business growth and a lower unemployment rate.
To explore the history of businesses in Memphis, including historic firsts and more recent successes, click the photos below!