Tennessee leads the nation in outlook for job growth

Tennessee leads the nation in the prospects for small business job growth, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index said small businesses in Tennessee are the most optimistic for hiring activity of any state. Nationwide, small businesses surveyed by the payroll company hit highs for a third month in a row as election hopes began to turn into jobs.

"I think we saw a lot of optimism but less job growth the first month or so since the election," Paychex president and CEO Marty Mucci said Tuesday during an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "Now it's starting to translate into actual job growth."

Mucci attributed the growth to President Donald Trump's pro-business agenda, which the president says will include tax reform and a new version of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans revealed Monday.

Mucci said Tennessee is being boosted by strong job growth in Middle Tennessee and the e-commerce boom for FedEx, Amazon and other online retailers in the state.

"You see Nashville's got good high-tech jobs coming in there," Mucci said. "E-commerce is now 15 percent of sales, and FedEx being based (in Memphis), you're seeing a lot of shipping really pick up in the market, as well."

Led by job growth in Atlanta - the top major city for small business optimism in America -Georgia ranked second best in the nation for small business optimism behind only Tennessee.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.