Advanced Manufacturing Grows in Memphis

A central location, affordable business costs, and unbeatable transportation infrastructure has made Memphis a magnet for advanced manufacturers. Memphis International Airport (the busiest cargo airport in North America), five class one railroads, nine intermodal yards, and two major interstate highways have only added to the appeal. Factor in a low tax burden, low utility rates and excellent quality of life, and it is easy to see why manufacturers are investing in Memphis.

Recently Announced Manufacturing Projects:

  • In November 2015, DunAn Precision, Inc. announced that they will be building a new, $20 million heat exchanger manufacturing facility, creating 104 new jobs
  • Pacific Paper Poducts, Inc., announced $2.3 million in investments at their Memphis facility, and 27 new job in November 2015.
  • Thomas & Betters Corp., now an ABB company, is undergoing a $30 million expansion of their manufacturing and consumer experience center in the Low Voltage Product division. The expansion, announced in February 2015, will add 200 jobs and the company plans to add 100 more in 5 years. 

Quick Links

Made in Memphis Real Estate
America's Distribution Center Utilities
Workforce Incentives
Education and Training  

Made in Memphis

From breakfast cereal to specialty pharmaceuticals, Memphians manufacture goods that are essential to our daily lives.  Memphis' 2015 GMP for manufactured goods topped $9.48 billion, a number that has climbed steadily over the last decade.  With over 900 manufacturing firms employing more than 44,000 people, chances are you use something that was made in Memphis every day

Top Memphis Area Manufacturers (based on FTE)

Source: Memphis Business Journal, 2017 Book of Lists

America's Distribution Center

Memphis’ central location means that shipping is quick and cost-effective.

  • Trucks leaving from Memphis can reach 152 markets, including 40 top 100 markets, overnight. 
  • Five class-one railroads connect Memphis to 45 states within two days, and provide single system shipments to all 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Canada and Mexico.
  • Nine intermodal yards have a container capacity of more than 2 million annual lifts.
  • With nine all-cargo airlines, including the FedEx World Hub, Memphis companies can ship cargo across the globe overnight.
  • The Port of Memphis along the Mississippi River ships more than 12 million tons per year, connecting Memphis companies to ocean liners near New Orleans.

For more information about transportation in Memphis, visit the Transportation, Logistics, and Aerotropolis pages.



Memphis area manufacturers employ more than 44,000 people, ranging from team assemblers to production managers.  With an average annual wage of $34,530 for production workers and a unionization rate of 9.8% for private manufacturers, the Memphis workforce gives manufacturers the flexibility to compete in the global marketplace.

Memphis Area Manufacturing Wages

Occupation Employment Average Annual Wage
Team Assemblers 6,450 $30,657
Helpers – Production Workers 1,860 $23,863
First-Line Supervisors of Production Workers 2,550 $55,315
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers 2,520 $35,943
Machinists 1,430 $46,462
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers 900 $44,281
Industrial Engineers 1,500 $79,797
Industrial Production Managers 970 $82,873
Cutting, Punching and Press Machine Operators 550 $29,866
Chemical Equipment Operators 320 $38,354
Food Batchmakers 820 $32,172
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators 280 $46,611
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers 680 $20,741
Tool and Die Makers 100 $49,224
Medical Appliance Technicians 190 $33,182
All Production Occupations 37,900 $34,179

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, June 2016

Education and Training

Memphis manufacturers have access to graduates from several quality training programs, ranging from readiness certificates to advanced engineering degrees.  In 2014, 451 students graduated from 38 manufacturing-related programs in the Memphis area.  For a complete listing of colleges and universities in the Memphis Area, visit our workforce and training pages.
Manufacturers can also take advantage of customized training options available through incentives such as the FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program and the services of the Workforce Investment Network. Customized training is also available through several local training providers, including Southwest Tennessee Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology.  More information is available on the training and incentives pages.

2014 Graduates, Memphis Area Manufacturing Programs

Level No. of Programs Graduates
Certificate 23
Associate Degree 10
Bachelor Degree 3 46
Graduate Degree
Total 38 451
Source: National Center for Education Statistics


Real Estate

The Memphis industrial real estate market has some of the lowest lease rates in the U.S.  In Q3 of 2016, the average lease rate was $2.53, with over 188 million total square feet. Memphis also offers low construction costs for industrial property with a Reed Construction Cost Index of 85.3, well below the national average of 100.  For additional information on the real estate market, click here



Memphis has some of the lowest utility rates in the United States.  Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) is the largest three-service municipal utility in the nation, and offers competitive rates for industrial users.  MLGW offers electric, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and water services to industrial customers in the Memphis service area.  The City of Memphis manages the wastewater system, which can handle 225 million gallons per day.  For more information, visit the utilities page.



New and expanding manufacturers may be eligible for state and local tax credits, such as the Jobs Tax Credit, Industrial Machinery Tax Credit or the Payment in Lieu of Taxes incentives.  Tennessee also has several sales and use tax exemptions for manufacturers, such as installation of industrial machinery, raw materials for processing, and pollution control equipment.  For more information, view the taxes and incentives pages.