The number of new business filing in Tennessee rose another 6.5 percent during the fourth quarter, continuing five years of year-over-year growth in the number of business entities operating in the Volunteer State.
The Tennessee Secretary of State said as of Jan. 1, there were 249,741 active entities in Tennessee. After business dissolutions, the total number of businesses rose 3.4 percent in the final three months of 2017.
"Business leaders continue to choose Tennessee to start or expand their companies. Our data shows unprecedented growth with no signs of slowing down," Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said today.
There were 8,215 new entity filings in the fourth quarter of 2016, including 508 in Hamilton County.
In the quarterly economic report released today, state officials said the initial business filings are a good leading indicator of employment, personal income and tax revenues in Tennessee.
In December 2016, Tennessee tax revenues were up 11.3 percent over a year ago, and franchise and excise tax revenues were 38 percent higher than their December 2015 collections.
Despite the rise in the number of businesses operating in the state, Tennessee's unemployment rate did edge up in December from 4.8 percent to 4.9 percent. The state unemployment rate is now slightly above the U.S. rate of 4.8 percent, but still well below the state rate of 5.6 percent from just a year ago.
The rise in joblessness in December reflects the increase in the number of persons looking for work, which overwhelmed the 1.6 percent gain in employment across the state in the past year, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
"These data are consistent in what we are seeing across the board indicating that Tennessee is settling into a pattern of more sustainable growth," said Dr. Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennnessee. "In the years 2014, 2015 and into 2016, we saw unusually fast growth and we're now settling into a more normal, consistent growth."
Fox said employment is now growing at about a 1.6 pecent annual pace, down from the job gains of more than 2 percent a year in the past few years.
"We're still seeing very good growth, but it is down some from what we were seeing before," Fox said.