Memphis economic development is thriving

Memphis economy in Downtown is experiencing a building boom, with entrepreneurs flocking to the city’s innovation districts. We’re a top-10 city for technology jobs, our major corporations continue to cultivate creativity, and our cost of living is among the lowest in the country.

And, of course, our food and music scene is one of the best in the world.

The Memphis economy is a freight train filled with employment opportunities and fueled by people building their careers by being part of something special.

Here’s a look at just a few of the reasons why the Memphis economy is thriving:


Memphis has always been a beacon for the creative. Many musicians, artists and innovators have roots in our city from award-winning actors Morgan Freeman and Kathy Bates to musicians like Justin Timberlake and Elvis Presley.

And while Memphis is still home to world-class artists and musicians, they are being joined by 55 new people per week: innovators, entrepreneurs, members of the maker movement and high-powered professionals who are growing and galvanizing businesses across our city.


Venture capital firm Jernigan Capital moved to Memphis in 2016, bringing the number of publicly traded companies in Memphis to thirteen.

Six of these corporations are home-grown, and seven relocated their main offices to Memphis, recognizing our city as a great place to grow with an economy that fosters successful business growth.

Indeed ranked Memphis among the 10 best cities in the country for job seekers, noting our job market favorability, salary percentile, job security and advancement.

In fact, the Greater Memphis Chamber recently declared that there are 16,000 well-paying jobs available in Memphis, nearly half of which pay between $58,000 and $75,000 a year.

Memphis is an unstoppable city with a strong economic infrastructure that provides a solid bedrock for business and career growth. The Memphis economy offers a wealth of job opportunities and has been home to major players in a variety of industries for decades. It should come as no surprise that a number of corporate titans including FedEx and AutoZone are headquartered here, generating a healthy revenue while employing thousands of workers.


Memphis is well known for its independent thinkers who achieved great success with humble beginnings, including entrepreneurs like the nation’s first black millionaire, J.E. Walker.

Our city boasts one of the most diversified economies in the country when compared to other major metropolitan areas. Due to our place along the Mississippi River, the Memphis economy was fueled and built by transportation and logistics. Today, Memphis economic development continues to grow and diversify with thriving businesses in legal and business services, education, healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality.

The sheer number of industries represented in Memphis make our city a great place to live for people who want career options. And we’re not stopping anytime soon: we’re leading the nation in projected small business job growth.

Whether you’re looking to work in the logistics, healthcare, automotive retail, metals, employment services or paper manufacturing industries, opportunities abound for those interested in building a career in Memphis.


Memphis is home to an impressively diverse housing market. Not only is housing affordable in our city, it comes in all shapes and sizes. Our leaders are hard at work creating the infrastructure for Memphis to become the next ‘It City.’

Downtown, the $17.8 million 266 Memphis Lofts are being built and construction will soon begin on the Carolina Warehouse Lofts and Urban Terrace. Meanwhile, Central Gardens is the place to go for historic homes built in the 1900s.

Memphis has a wide range of community development organizations that are preserving the architectural character of our communities while helping families on the path to homeownership. Whether you are interested in owning or renting a new or old home, here in Memphis we have plenty of affordable housing for young professionals.

After graduating from college, young professionals tend to gravitate toward low-maintenance housing with minimal upkeep and try to steer clear of the expense of homeownership. From studio apartments to three-bedroom condos, there’s a little bit of something to suit everyone’s tastes in Memphis—including up-market single-family homes for those who want to raise a family in a comparatively sprawling setting.

Speaking of raising a family, Memphis is the ideal place thanks to its small-town atmosphere that fosters a close-knit community. It’s no wonder many of the students who come here to attend the metro area’s outstanding universities and colleges never leave. The place is easy to call home, and its relatively affordable living costs make it easy for transplants to settle in.


What do Money CrashersForbes and Apartment Guide have in common? They all ranked Memphis among the most affordable cities in the United States.

The publications gave our city high marks for the low cost of homes, rent, healthcare and transit, as well as the lack of state, city or county income taxes—all of which means you get to keep more of your hard-earned money.


Memphis never rests- with bold ideas and vigorous partnerships, we are always finding new ways to create positive change. Innovate Memphis leads several public-private partnerships to promote lasting positive change in our city. Companies that find their home in Memphis are also finding ways to give back, with initiatives like ServiceMaster Ground Floor, a new innovation engine created to attract high-tech talent and investment to Memphis.

Memphis boasts an array of organizations, opportunities, and initiatives conceived to make the Memphis of tomorrow even better than the Memphis of today. Here’s an overview of two:

  • Composed of a number of local government and community partners, the Innovate Memphis group is tasked with developing initiatives and coming up with bold ideas to address some of Memphis’ most pressing challenges. The goal of the program is to move the city forward.
  • Working with agencies throughout the Memphis community, The Greater Memphis Greenline plays a significant role in fostering an active lifestyle among the Memphis community and helping to shape a new, healthier Memphis.


Technology has changed everything from engineering and manufacturing to logistics and computing. With the pace of change moving at unprecedented rates, it can be difficult to keep up… unless you live and work in Memphis.

Recently, Forbes ranked Memphis as the 10th best city in the nation with respect to the number of tech jobs created, with 35% growth in this sector between 2012 and 2015. With one of the most diverse STEM workforces in the United States according to Huffington Post, we don’t expect this growth to stop any time soon.

Our city is also investing in the future of technology with education programs such as LITE Memphis, an organization that teaches over 1,000 students skills for the 21st century and Black Girls Code, a movement started in San Francisco which now has a chapter in Memphis.


Memphis is always on the move, and we have several new initiatives to keep Memphis transit cutting-edge. Our MATA streetcar system has grown to connect downtown with the Medical District and other employment centers. And it’s not just about planes, trains, and automobiles. The Greater Memphis Greenline is creating beautiful parks and trails from unused railways, with new paths that make it easy for people to walk or cycle to work.


All work and no play makes for a less-than-ideal existence, regardless of how much you’re being paid. Lacking work-life balance can lead to career burnout, which doesn’t do anything for your financial future or the Memphis economy.

Luckily, Memphis is one of the best cities for killer work-life balance. It’s an especially good spot for people looking to land high-paying jobs in a city that delivers exceptional balance.

Maybe it’s the small-town vibe that emanates from our city’s streets. Perhaps it’s the fact that creative types know how to let loose and have a great time down on Beale Street. More likely, though, it’s that Memphis truly offers something for everyone in and out of the office, including world-class music, opportunities to launch a startup, arts and culture, and access to Fortune 500 corporations.

Ultimately, the best cities are filled with smart people, plenty of jobs, diverse economies, affordable housing, a low cost of living, an abundance of technology and the ability to strike a healthy work-life balance.

That’s exactly what Memphis has—and it’s exactly why our Memphis economy is thriving.

Bring your dreams. Bring your hustle. Bring your soul. Memphis is the place to grow.

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