NASHVILLE – A new report released today by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development highlights the relationship between economic development, health and education.

The Center for Economic Research in Tennessee (CERT) evaluated the correlation between these pillars of a strong economy with outcomes such as private sector job growth, poverty rates, labor force participation and median household incomes. 

“One of the key findings of this report is the high correlation between education attainment and positive economic outcomes – lower unemployment rates, larger participation rates in the workforce, overall health and higher median household incomes,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “The work of TNECD to help create vibrant and growing communities across Tennessee does not happen in a vacuum, but depends heavily on coordinated efforts around improving education and health. Data in this report can be used to inform policies and programs that aim to reduce unemployment and strengthen economics across Tennessee.”

Highlights from the CERT’s “Economic Development, Education and Health in Tennessee” report include:

  • Unemployment rates are correlated with private sector job growth, poverty rates, median household income and labor force participation in Tennessee counties.
  • Unemployment rates are also correlated with education attainment of an associate degree or more, and then number of reported poor or fair health days.
  • Attainment of an associate degree or higher has a strong correlation with lower unemployment rates, higher labor force participation rates, larger median household incomes and improved health outcomes in Tennessee counties.
  • 5.2 percent of Tennessee workers with no high school degree experienced job separations to persistent non-employment in the first quarter of 2015. This share is lower for worker high school degrees (4 percent), some college or associate degrees (3.7 percent), and bachelor’s degrees or higher (3.3 percent).

County health rankings are correlated with rates of poverty and labor force participation in Tennessee counties, as well as educational attainment of an associate degree or higher.

Download Report

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