Weekly Update

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I am no historian, but I am not sure that there has ever been a better time economically in Memphis than right now. 

  • We have thousands more jobs than eight years ago.
  • Salaries are going up.
  • Poverty is going down.
  • Property values in all neighborhoods have risen.
  • Tourism is increasing.
  • There are over 10,000 good paying jobs open and available now.
  • There is free job training available.
  • There is even job training available that pays its trainees.

Let me explain. 

Jobs - There are almost 5,000 more people employed now than eight years ago, and the unemployment rate has decreased from 6 percent to 3.9 percent. We have aggressively recruited businesses to locate in all areas of Memphis and streamlined City approval processes.  Below is a map of the locations of businesses who received tax incentives:


Salaries—In 2015, the median household income in Memphis was $36,908.  In 2022, it was $50,622, an increase of 27 percent.

Poverty Rate—In 2015, the poverty rate was 26.2 percent and has trended down since then.  In 2022, it dropped to 21.4 percent, its lowest level in decades, with over 37,000 fewer individuals living below the poverty line. 

Property Values—According to one of my favorite professional organizations, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, median home sales in Memphis went up 76%, from $125,000 in 2015 to $220,000 in 2023.   And it has increased prices in every neighborhood where they keep records:


Tourism—According to the State of Tennessee, visitor spending in Memphis hit an all-time high in 2022 of over $4 billion. This is an increase of $847 million or 27 percent.

A couple of new developments helped with that increase: First, our $200 million renovation of the Renasant Convention Center has been named Best Convention Center in 2022 and 2023 and generated $60 million in economic activity for the 2022—2023 fiscal year. Second, our new youth sports center at Liberty Park is on pace to have 1 million visitors this year, and 15 additional hotels in downtown are being planned for our city. Third, we brought back the Church of God in Christ Holy Convocation to Memphis.

Career Opportunities—Months ago, a State of Tennessee official informed me that there were over 10,000 openings for good paying jobs in Memphis.

And there are great opportunities to obtain the skills necessary for these careers. Thanks to State government, job training is easily available with free tuition at all community colleges and technical schools, where you can get a degree or certificate for good paying careers, such as auto mechanics, airplane maintenance, HVAC, and welding. This free tuition program was extended to Moore Tech for low-income individuals, where they have a great track record of job placement in many skilled trade careers.

In addition, many of our local unions and other organizations offer training programs and apprenticeships where you get paid.  In our Fire and Police academies, recruits are paid over $43,000 for Fire and $54,000 for Police, and starting salaries after probation are $62,199 (up to $69,044 after 3 years) for Fire and $60,713 (up to $73,429 after 5 years for Police).  Also, a 7.5 percent incentive is provided for having a bachelor’s degree.

For those individuals who need help to prepare themselves for the job market or these training opportunities, the City and many others have free programs to help.  We have programs for those in need of second chances, youth not in school and not employed, and folks in gangs or a bad lifestyle who are trying to turn their lives around.  We couple those programs with immediate employment to put money in their pocket and personal development for a better long-term career and life.

Of course, all these opportunities depend on individuals taking personal responsibility to work with us or others.

For more information on these opportunities, please visit Opportunity Memphis and Jobs4TN.

MWBE Growth—In partnership with the City Council, we prioritized increasing the percentage of City contracts for goods and services with Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises. When we took office almost eight years ago, 12 percent of City contracts were with MWBEs, and the leading cities in the country (Atlanta and Chicago) appeared to be at 30 percent.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, we were at 27.54 percent, and if you include non-certified MWBEs, we’re at 30.01 percent. 

Thank you to Director Zanderia Davidson and her team at our Office of Business Diversity & Compliance for always working to grow these numbers.

Film and Television—According to our Film and Television Commission, the recently concluded fiscal year was “a record-breaking year” with over $15 million spent in the local economy and 2,180 jobs created.

Team Effort—Economic Development is a team sport.  I want to thank our partners who were involved in some or all the above gains—the State of Tennessee, Shelby County Government, Memphis City Council, Greater Memphis Chamber, EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine), TVA, MLGW, and all the great businesses in our community.

All that to say—it’s a great time for a career in Memphis, and our future is looking bright.

Support for Israel: On Monday and Wednesday nights, I had the opportunity to stand in solidarity with Israel and the Memphis Jewish Community.


It is hard for me to express the outrage I feel regarding the horrific terrorism happening against the State of Israel. I want to be perfectly clear—Hamas is a terrorist group, and it should be condemned by all civilized people.

It is shocking to realize that this assault against Israel has been the largest single massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust. My sense of outrage is coupled with my deepest feelings of sympathy for all the people of Israel. And I include all whose friends and loved ones are faced with this outrageous act of terror.

As your mayor, I want you to know that I believe that Israel is entitled to complete security and self-defense. I also want you to know that I am keenly aware that the threat of antisemitism is on the rise everywhere, and Memphis is not immune from that. We are keenly aware that there have been and likely will be more threats to our local Jewish institutions. As some of you know, the Memphis Police Department has taken steps to increase security around our Jewish community.

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I wish I could offer more in this very troubling time. But I want you to know that your city’s leadership is ready to do what it can to help the Memphis Jewish community in any way.

On a personal note, my thoughts and prayers—as well as those of my family—are with the Memphis Jewish Community and the people of Israel.

God bless Israel. And God bless the United States of America.


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