MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For the fifth time in six months, the number of people on non-farm payroll in the Memphis metropolitan area hit a new record high in August, according to a new report from the Greater Memphis Chamber's Center for Economic Competitiveness (CFEC).
The Memphis metropolitan area added 700 jobs to end August with 667,400 total jobs, CFEC reports. The region's growth rate of 0.1% was slightly below the national average of 0.2% for the month.
“The job records we’re setting now show the resiliency of our community, but we have more work to do,” said Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer and incoming president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “We celebrate the growth but also recognize that not all industries are recovering as quickly as we’d like. To continue this momentum and address the ongoing labor needs across all industry sectors, we must develop, resource and rapidly deploy innovative workforce development solutions that create new pathways to prosperity for all, across our entire community.”
Compared to Memphis’ pre-recession peak of February 2020, the number of jobs in Memphis has risen by 1.4%, or 9,500 jobs, according to CFEC.
The construction industry continues to lead the region’s economic recovery with 10.3% growth over March 2020, followed by an industry category that includes one of Memphis’ staple industries, transportation, with 7.7% growth. Meanwhile, after recovering all the jobs lost in the pandemic in July, the hospitality and leisure industry saw a 1.7% decrease in jobs in August, although development remains strong with at least seven new hotel projects either planned or under construction. The education and health industry remains a concern as jobs remain 6.2% below March 2020 totals.
"The competitive job market continues to favor employers that are as focused on the employee experience as their bottom line,” said Amity Schuyler, senior vice president of Workforce Development for the Chamber. “Attrition is expensive, and thinking about the things that are important to employees — that make them choose one employer over another — is more important than ever."
Memphis’ growth is part of a larger statewide trend: In August, Tennessee shattered records when its total number of jobs rose 2.8% (88,900 jobs) compared to February 2020.