Posted on: Tuesday - Jan 6, 2015

To welcome the New Year, we sat down with Commissioner Bill Hagerty and incoming Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd to get their take on the top economic development trends to watch for in Tennessee in 2015.

1. Tennessee will continue to see strong growth in capital investment—of which our state has attracted more than $15 billion in private sector commitments over the past four years—building on the 210,000 net new private sector jobs added in Tennessee since 2011.

2. More capital-intensive industry will demand a more highly trained workforce.

3. In the fall of 2015, approximately 25,000 new students will enter technical and community colleges free of charge under Governor Haslam’s Tennessee Promise—about 68% will be the first in their families to go to college—an initiative that will drive Tennessee’s reputation forward as the state with the most skilled workforce in the nation.

4. In 2015, under Governor Haslam’s RECONNECT program, every adult can attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology and earn certificates to qualify them for many high skilled high paying jobs and they can do this free of tuition and fees.

5. Crude oil prices, at their lowest since 2009, will remain low through 2015 giving a further boost to Tennessee’s thriving transportation and logistics sector.

6. Tennessee’s entrepreneurs will benefit from more early stage capital flowing into the state in the coming year, spurred by our LaunchTN initiative and the hard work of many serious entrepreneurs to make the Tennessee Story heard.

7. Rural economic development investments will continue to show results through our ThreeStar, Main Street, Tennessee Downtowns and Retire Tennessee programs while our #1 rated Select Tennessee industrial site selection program continues to make our rural communities more competitive for new industrial projects from around the world.

8. As global business leaders continue to search for locations for new investment, Tennessee will continue to stand out as the least-risky market in which to invest, thanks to our great balance sheet and our distinction as the state with the lowest debt per capita.

9. Exports will continue to grow as a percentage of Tennessee’s economy as TNECD assists small and medium-sized business in expanding their markets, diversifying their revenue streams and ultimately hiring more employees.

10. Brand Tennessee will continue its strong upward trajectory with companies like Under Armour, Academy Sports + Outdoors, UBS and Beretta coming on stream—adding to an installed base of global brands as diverse as any on earth.

Please note: Commissioner Hagerty will step down from his role on January 17, after the inauguration, and Randy Boyd will take over as Commissioner of TNECD.