MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT) -- WMOT News continues to explore those thin slices of the state economy that prospered during the economic downturn as part a series of stories called “Tennessee Works.”
The state’s export sector took a nose dive right along with the rest of the economy during the recession. But one category of exports bucked that trend and continued to expand each year of the downturn.
Dr. Steven Livingston is an economist with the Business and Economics Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
“The Tennessee export that held up the best was the medical sector. By medical sector I mean medical equipment, medical instruments, orthopedics, pharmaceuticals, and all that kind of stuff.”
According to Census Bureau statistics, Tennessee medical exports expanded by about 37 percent between 2008 and 2011, growing from just over $13 billion in annual sales to more than $18 billion.
Dr. Livingston says recovery took hold in the rest of Tennessee’s export sector this past year, expanding by more than 15 percent in 2011.