Memphis is making it happen. Every time I visit I can feel the momentum and excitement growing. Earlier this month, I attended the Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual luncheon, where Rob Gillette, CEO of ServiceMaster, gave updates on the company’s plan to move 1,200 employees to its new downtown headquarters.
The next day, Gov. Haslam and I joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital officials as the research institute announced 1,800 new jobs as part of its $1 billion expansion.
These large job announcements are just a part of Memphis’ broader recent success.
The Memphis region’s unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent in October 2016, Three years ago, the region’s unemployment rate was still around 9 percent.
Employment growth has been strong. More than 34,800 net new jobs were created from 2010 to 2015. Better still, Memphis is adding higher-skilled, well-paying jobs faster than nearly every other major city nationwide.
In August, the Brookings Institution ranked Memphis No. 8 among the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. for advanced industry job growth from 2013 to 2015, highlighting the expansion of jobs in engineering services, medical equipment manufacturing and computer systems design.
Even with this progress, our work isn’t complete. More can be done to sustain and broaden these gains to all parts of Memphis. And it starts with workforce development and education, which is critical to the growth of these jobs that require science, math, engineering and technology training. Companies want to locate and expand where there’s a strong pipeline of talent.