MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Economic leaders are viewing 2022 as a year of big growth for Memphis. In November 2,700 jobs were added to the region according to the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce. It puts Memphis at 671,500 total jobs.
According to Tecora Murray from the Chamber’s Center for Economic Competitiveness, this means the area has added 15,100 out of 50,000 jobs the organization is aiming for by 2030.
In the past year, the Chamber says some of the biggest growth in the region has been the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Hospitality/Leisure led overall growth at 7.88% growth over November 2021. The industry is now sitting at 66,855 total jobs. Health/Education were another highlight, growing 3.98% year over year after year after remaining stagnant for a long time.
Greater Memphis Chamber President and CEO Ted Townsend says “Greater Memphis has more people on payroll than ever before and our businesses are still telling us they can’t hire people fast enough.”
When looking at jobs, however, some Memphians may need several to make ends meet. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Memphis has remained below the average hourly wage across America. In 2021, those in the food preparation and serving industry made $14.16 on average nationally, but in Memphis they only made $11.85. While the 3rd quarter has the Memphis cost of living index at 86.2%, it still is high for a lot of people.
RentCafe says the average rent in Memphis is $1,060, while the rest costs $889 according to Numbeo. So if someone worked four weeks a month, the average person would make $1,896, which is less than what they would need.
However the Chamber is working towards helping people make more money.
The area has seen a record number of interested parties in economic development. The Chamber says 56 companies have had their sights on the Memphis region, many in manufacturing, which is a weird trend but could be the signal of the “Ford Effect.” Once Ford announces the Blue Oval suppliers, the Chamber expects a lot of those companies to make location decisions.
Ryan Poe from the Greater Memphis Chamber says one of the biggest goals for the Chamber over the past year has been a focus on accelerated job training. This is a model that has been used in places like Orlando. It takes people to get certified at a business-led job training center, which then helps them earn a starting wage comparable to what they would earn with a two or four year degree.
Poe adds this is big for the Memphis community, since such a huge percentage of the area has a high school diploma education or less.
According to the US Census Bureau, this was 72.9% for people over the age of 25.