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The top industries and employers in the Chattanooga metro area

Learn about the biggest industries and employers in the Chattanooga metro area with this guide to local business.

NOOGAtoday: bridge photo

We’re diving into the some of Chattanooga’s top employers.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

Table of Contents

More than 562,600 people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to the Chattanooga metro area’s economy. But have you ever wondered about the Scenic City’s heaviest hitters?

Consider this Chattanooga Business 101 — your guide to some of our region’s key industries and major employers.

Note: When we say the Chattanooga metro area, that refers to Hamilton, Marion, and Sequatchie counties in TN + Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in GA.

The key industries

The following six industries represent ~72% of the Chattanooga metro area’s economy, based on data from Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. We’ve listed them in order of employment numbers.

Government | 14% or 36,500 employees

Government figures from the chamber of commerce include TVA and Hamilton County Schools, in addition to other local government positions.

Manufacturing | 13% or 35,600 employees

Businesses like Volkswagen Chattanooga and McKee Foods Corp., among many others, help make manufacturing a major industry in the area.

Educational & Health Services | 13% or 34,400 employees

With organizations like Erlanger Health System and CHI Memorial being two of the top five major employers in the area, it’s no secret that Educational & Health Services is a key local industry.

Professional & Business Services | 11% or 28,400 employees

Everything from accounting and law firms to banks and marketing agencies fall under this umbrella.

Leisure & Hospitality | 11% or 27,900 employees

The estimated 15+ million people who visit the area each year — and their ~$1.5 billion in spending, according to the Chattanooga Tourism Co. — have played a major role in this sector’s growth.

Retail Trade | 10% or 27,600 employees

The retail trade industry includes establishments that sell products and after-sale services related to these products, such as cleaning or repair.

The major players

Now that we’ve established the major industries, we bet you’re curious for specific names. Whether you’re job hunting or just “casually prospecting,” here are five major local employersall that employ more than 3,000 full-time workers on average. Find more top employers here.

Employee numbers listed below indicate full-time employees.

Hamilton County Schools

4,980 employees | Elementary & Secondary Schools | Search jobs

From school secretary to boil system technician and substitute teacher, there are a variety of careers that help support the area’s K-12 students.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

4,855 employees | Health Care Financing | Search jobs

Tennessee’s largest health benefit plan company, BCBST offers multiple job opportunities for those in the Chattanooga area — many of which are remote.

Erlanger Health System

4,852 employees | Health System | Search jobs

Erlanger Health System serves as one of five Level One Trauma Centers statewide, an academic teaching hospital, and is affiliated with the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga.

CHI Memorial

3,549 employees | Health Care | Search jobs

Check out one of the 200+ open jobs currently listed for CHI Memorial, an area not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare organization.

Tennessee Valley Authority

3,431 employees | Utility-Electric Service | Search jobs

Tennessee Valley Authority provides electricity for well over 100 local power companies serving ~10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states.

This information is derived from the most recent data published by the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.

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