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Heather Skender-Newton, REALTOR, Broker​

Skender-Newton Realty
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Economy of Cookeville and Putnam County Tennessee

Economy of Cookeville and Putnam County Tennessee

• Approximately 25,000 people travel to Cookeville daily to work, shop, or attend school. 
• Cookeville's 2005 retail sales total of $1.16 billion was a 12.4% increase from the 2004 retail sales total. The state's increase was 7.86%. 
• The December 2006 unemployment rate was 4.7%, down from a high of 6.8% in August 2006 after the closing of two large manufacturing facilities with 1300 employees combined. 
• Manufacturing is the largest sector in Cookeville's economy with over 100 plants and 8,000 employees. Oreck is moving into the vacated TRW facility in Cookeville. TRW employed approximately 400 people at their Cookeville facility before closing in 2006. As of December 2006 Oreck had 120 employees in Cookeville and has announced its intention to move another 400 jobs from Mississippi to the Cookeville facility. Also in 2006,after nearly 30 years of being in business in Cookeville Russell Stover Candies laid off 900 employees. The former Russell Stover manufacturing facility is now used as a warehouse for candy and employs 30 people. 
• Even with the loss of 900 Russell Stover and 400 TRW manufacturing jobs, over-all employment in Cookeville increased by over 1200 between August 2006 and March 2007, resulting in 33,510 jobs in Cookeville and a March 2007 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. 
• The majority of new jobs created in Cookeville deal with the services, restaurants, etc...the $12-$20 an hour manufacturing jobs were replaced with minimum wage, unskilled jobs. 
• With 13% of the workforce, retail trade employs about 4,200 people and is the second largest sector in the Cookeville economy. 
• Health care workers comprise about 12% of the work force with 3,840 employees. 
• Education is another major sector with nearly 2,000 employees at Tennessee Technological University and the public school system. 
• In June 2006 Cookeville banks had $1.215 billion in deposits, an increase of 10.2 percent over June 2005. In June 2006 there were 30 bank branches in Cookeville, an increase of three branches over June 2005. 

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and FDIC 

In 2000, the Federal Reserve wrote an article to prospective municipal bond buyers pursuant to an upcoming bond issue for the City of Cookeville. I have taken the liberty of presenting that article herein with updated information. Jim Shipley, City Manager: 

Putnam County is a rapidly growing area located in the eastern portion of middle Tennessee. The county is home for some 62,000 people and its largest city, Cookeville, has about 26,000 residents. Tennessee Technological University is located in Cookeville and provides excellent educational opportunities for some 8,500 students. 

The area's growth may be documented by analyzing a number of economic data series that are available on the local level. Putnam County's population has increased by 21 percent since 1990. According to the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association, Cookeville is one of the top 5 most economical cities in the nation. (4th quarter of 2002) 

Total employment in the county has increased by 26%. Non-manufacturing jobs increased 42% during the last ten years. 
The result of this population and job growth may be seen in other economic indicators. Bank deposits in the County have increased by 62% while local sales tax collections increased by 128%. Assessed value of property increased 111%. 

The increased economic activity may be tied directly to the growth in personal income in the county. At a current level of approximately $889.3 million, personal income has increased some 84% during the latest ten-year period. 

Finally, the most impressive indicator of economic growth may be found in data reflecting retail sales for the area. From 1992 to 2002, retail sales increased by 110%. Significant growth in the number of retail outlets and increases in income have contributed to this growth. It is also assumed, but undocumented, that the increase in variety and availability of retail outlets has contributed to more persons coming into the county to shop while fewer residents leave the county for specialized purchases. 

Taken as a whole, all the foregoing indicators point to an area that is experiencing solid growth. Especially significant is the fact that this growth has come about without unduly taxing the capacity of the area's infrastructure to expand to meet new needs. The schools, roads, water and sewer facilities, etc. that have been associated with this growth have been implemented without major increases in local taxes. 

Current estimates reflect that about 42,000, or 70% of the residents of Putnam County live in the greater Cookeville area, and 86% of the total sales collections in the county are collected in Cookeville. Therefore, it is my opinion that the City of Cookeville is a major contributor to the data discussed in this article. Reading this information makes me very proud of our community and reminds me just how great it is to live in Cookeville. 



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