Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee, ranking third statewide with a metropolitan population of 785,828. The City of Knoxville comprised 103.2 square miles of the 526-square mile Knox County. An extensive transportation network connects Knoxville to the U.S. marketplace. Forty percent of the nation’s population is within 600 miles of Knoxville via I-40, I-75, and I-81 which meet in the metro area. The city is directly linked to the Great Lakes by the Interconnected Inland Water System and to the Gulf of Mexico by the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway. Barge shipping is facilitated by three local river terminals. Also serving the area are 125 truck lines, two railroads, and eight airlines. Because of the moderate climate, transportation delays due to weather are greatly reduced. Knoxville is the center of the 5 county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a total population over 785,828. Knox County counts for over half that amount at 436,104, while the City of Knoxville has over 182,287 in population.
Source: Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley
In 2011, Knox County’s per capita personal income was seventh highest in the state at $48,571, a 3.6% increase from 2008. State and national increases were 3.8% and 3.2% respectively during the same period. The annual growth rate of per capita income in Knox County over the past 10 years averaged 3.3%.
The December 2011 civilian labor force for Knoxville and its surrounding counties was 465,110, with an average unemployment rate of 8.3% (Knox County unemployment was 7.1%). A diversified economy with strong public sector employment is credited for the stability of local employment and wages. A regional workforce development initiative recently brought together people from the education community, local workforce partners, and area businesses, to create a cohesive strategy that will create, attract and sustain a world-class workforce in order to meet the needs of the region’s existing and target industries. A skilled workforce with 21st century skills is critical to our area’s well-being and business success, and therefore the quality of our education system is of the utmost importance.
Knox County operates 88 public schools with a total enrollment of nearly 60,000 students, with an average classroom ratio of one teacher for every 14 students. In addition to public education, there are 46 private and parochial schools in Knox County. There are 10 public and private four-year institutions in Knox County and the surrounding area. In 2012 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with an average enrollment of 27,000 students, was listed in the top 40 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Four community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs, and several vocational and technical institutions also serve the area.
Knox County has eight general use hospitals and one children’s hospital, with approximately 2,320 beds available.
The Knoxville region is in the center of the Eastern US at the junction of 3 major Interstate highways (I-40, 75, & 81). An ideal location for the movement of people and goods, the region is within a day’s drive of 70% of the U.S. marketplace. Many regional businesses take advantage of this strategic location to implement just-in-time delivery practices. A major intersection for air, motor, rail and waterway transportation, the region is a prime location for both domestic and international commerce.
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, the Knoxville metropolitan area has a population of more than 680,000 people. The region’s location at the convergence of Interstates 40, 75, and 81 in the heart of the Southeastern United States, provides great access to the diverse group of industries that make up the Knoxville economy. Home to a number of large public sector employers like the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a growing heath services sector, the East Tennessee economy has continued to remain stable in this current economic slowdown.
The manufacturing sector of the region’s economy accounts for nearly 11% of the region’s 400,000 jobs. This sector is comprised of many small to medium sized companies in a diverse group of industries that includes transportation, personal watercraft, pre-assembled housing, metals, and a number of consumer related products. Because of the diversification among industries in the manufacturing sector and the region’s central location, the Knoxville industrial market has seen consistent growth over the past several years and continues to remain active.