Memphis Region

Metropolitan Memphis, located in the southeast corner of Tennessee, northwest Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas, contains approximately 4,598 square miles and is inhabited by a population of approximately 1.3 million people.  As one of the few MSAs that include three states, the Memphis Region plays an integral role as a centerpiece of the Mid-South area.  Memphis is the economic capital of the Mid-South.  It has become a regional and national supply chain and logistics hub because of its central location and well-developed infrastructure.  In recent years, numerous national and international corporations have relocated or expanded their operations in Memphis to take advantage of low costs and the convenience that the area’s logistics infrastructure offers.    

The infrastructure of Memphis includes:

  • Memphis International Airport reported the largest worldwide cargo volume for 18 straight years (1992-2009). It dropped to second largest volume behind Hong Kong in 2010.     
  • FedEx World Hub and UPS super-hub operations    
  • One of only three cities that has 5 of the 7 Class I railroads in the United States. The Class I railroads are the largest railroads in North America and are defined as rail companies that have annual revenues in excess of $250 million. The Class I railroads in Memphis are Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Canadian National (CN), CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and Union Pacific (UP).    
  • Second largest port on the Mississippi River     
  • Crossroads of two of the nation’s busiest highways – Interstate 40 and Interstate 55 and soon to boast the convergence of I-22 and I-69 (the international interstate that will connect Ontario, Canada with Mexico)  

Economic Development

Memphis continues to be a top tier player for major distribution, logistics and manufacturing facility relocations and consolidations with a steady volume of inquiries. Swedish based Electrolux announced in December 2010 that it would invest $190 million in a new 700,000 square foot manufacturing facility at Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park. Construction began in the fall of 2011. The move will create 1,200 jobs with the potential for 4,000 jobs. In February 2011 Mitsubishi Electric announced plans to build a $200 million, 350,000 sf manufacturing plant in Memphis. The new plant will provide 90 manufacturing and headquarter jobs and reach 275 employees at peak production. It will also need local suppliers for machined and fabricated materials, potentially providing even more jobs (source: Memphis Business Journal).  

Key economic drivers include:

  • Until 2010, Memphis International Airport was the busiest cargo airport in the world for 18 straight years. In 2010 it handled nearly 3.9 million metric tons, an increase of 5.9 percent. Memphis is second in cargo volume only to Hong Kong.     
  • The FedEx World Headquarters and WorldHub have undergone a $1 billion expansion in last seven years. FedEx has 30,000 local employees.      Healthcare has a $10.4 billion annual economic impact and accounts for one in nine jobs in the area. There are 2,400 companies with nearly $2 billion in annual payroll.     
  • Because of its abundant quadramodal (land, rail, river, air) transportation capabilities, Memphis was named the #1 US Logistics Hub in 2011 by Business Facilities magazine.     
  • Tourism is a major industry for Memphis. There are more than 8 million visitors a year contributing $2.3 billion in visitor expenditures. There are 51,310 jobs in tourism and hospitality in Memphis and Shelby County.  

Local Resources

Visit one of the following websites for more information on the Memphis region: