Top 3 Industries in Tennessee Right Now

Knoxville real estate

The housing market in many Tennessee cities is strong, with Knoxville real estate one of the hottest places to buy. Retail and healthcare are among the top industries there, but that’s not necessarily representative of the entire state.

As your livelihood is crucial, when you relocate, it’s important to have confidence in the ability to secure a job if you’re not moving to take a position you just landed. While Knoxville can be ideal for some, others may need to consider different cities based on the industries there. As a whole, the economy is strong in a number of sectors.

If your work involves any of these top three industries, Tennessee may be a state you’ll want to consider making a move to.

Advanced Manufacturing

With three major auto manufacturing plants and more than 900 auto suppliers in Tennessee, the state has become a primary driver of the fast-growing automotive industry in the Southeast. 

Franklin is home to Nissan’s North American headquarters, and its plant in Smyrna is North America’s most productive. General Motors in Spring Hill and Volkswagen in Chattanooga both continue to invest in training from the state’s high concentration of employment in the industry. But the advanced manufacturing sector here isn’t based on the auto industry alone, you’ll find the ‘Made in Tennessee’ label on a wide range of products that are known across the globe, from high-end porcelain tile to state-of-the-art cooking systems. 

Advanced manufacturing is thriving in Nashville as companies can operate at lower costs and more efficiently as compared to many other cities in the U.S. Just a few of the manufacturing companies based there include, Bridgestone Americas Inc., Electrolux Home Products North America, Dell, Tyson Foods Inc., and General Mills Inc.


Farmland covers almost half the state, with Tennessee’s agriculture industry generating over $50 billion annually in economic output. Its top five agricultural products, in terms of revenue generated, are beef cattle and calves, young chickens (broilers), soybeans, cotton, nursery, and greenhouse products. Soybeans are the largest crop and contribute approximately 11 percent to the state’s agricultural receipts. The livestock industry also contributes to the revenues, including farm chickens and chicken eggs, hogs, dairy products, honey, sheep, lambs, and wool.

Flowers, fruit trees, and ornamental shrubs are an important part of agriculture in Tennessee, while the most important field crops after soybeans are cotton, corn, and tobacco. Fruit and vegetables play a part, too, particularly snap beans, tomatoes, peaches, and apples. 


Tennessee’s entertainment industry is among the top of the chart. In addition to music, film and television production, digital, broadcasting, and music publishing all play a role, with the state home to the presence of some major media companies like Sony/ATV, Viacom, and Regal Entertainment Group, just to name a few. Known around the world as Music City, the music industry in Nashville alone accounts for more than 55,000 local jobs and has almost a $10 billion economic impact. Diverse and expansive, it includes all genres, with more music industry establishments than any other place in the entire country. That includes musicians and songwriters, education and training, production, independent artists, small businesses, global corporations, and live music venues.