Search

Growth Ahead: Economic Outlook for 2023

Charles Wood, Interim President & CEO and VP of Economic Development, Chattanooga Chamber

Charles Wood, Interim President and CEO, Chattanooga Chamber, recently shared his broad, treetop forecast on business community efforts to keep our regional economy humming throughout 2023 and beyond.

Read these major takeaways from TREND’s November conversation with Wood, who also continues to serve as Vice President of Economic and Talent Development.

  • Chattanooga’s economy is impacted by global events and trends: Chattanooga is feeling the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine and increased geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. This is true for Nokian Tyres whose largest manufacturing facility was shuttered in Russia as well as Volkswagen which derives a significant amount of sales in China.
    Our region has benefited from more than $8 billion in foreign direct investment since 2009 and many Chattanooga-based companies operate at a global level. It will be critical for us to stay engaged and aware of global events as they will undoubtedly impact our economy and our citizens,” Wood says.
  • Two major themes to Chattanooga’s growth worth watching include: Remote work is impacting our downtown core, making downtown residential development even more important, and; Millennials – who’ve surpassed Baby Boomers as America’s largest adult generation – are beginning to own homes, applying growth pressure to the remaining rural areas of our region.
  • Talent concerns continue to be top-of-mind: “Education is incredibly important, but if we’re producing an educated workforce and we don’t then have economic opportunities for those students to pursue once they complete their credential and exit the system, they’re going to leave Chattanooga to get a job elsewhere,” Wood says.
  • Chattanooga needs to double down on forging partnerships between industry and education: Apprenticeships, Future-Ready Institutes like those Hamilton County Department of Education established with Coca-Cola, NOVONIX, Gestamp Academy, Legacybox Academy and East Tennessee State University’s BlueSky Tennessee Institute at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, are all great recent examples to emulate.
  • For economic developers in Greater Chattanooga, the sophisticated arts of site selection and quality-growth planning share equal footing with the focus on talent: “As we look at economic-development projects in the ‘knowledge economy’ space like corporate relocations, office or headquarters projects, those will follow the talent – wherever the talent base for hiring is, that’s fundamental for them,” Wood says. “For the manufacturing sector, though, while workforce concerns are really important it isn’t the sole criteria those companies are considering. Viable paths for them from a real estate and site selection perspective, along with the infrastructure that’s able to accommodate those, is also incredibly essential.”

In 2023, the Chattanooga Chamber gears up to launch a major update to its Chattanooga Climbs strategic master plan, which since 2020 has guided the Chamber’s work program on high-quality job creation, stronger local businesses, talent development for an emerging economy, and equitable access to increased regional prosperity. Learn more and stay tuned at: ChattanoogaChamber.com/Chattanooga-Climbs.

Other Topics

Just weeks after graduating its cohort of outstanding 2024 Chattanooga leaders, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce proudly announces its new incoming Leadership Chattanooga class of 24-25 "The incoming class members are phenomenal, all representing the best and brightest of…

The newest class of young professional leaders has been established, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce announced. Welcome to the Protege Chattanooga class of 24-25. "This Protege class will change the world," said Toya Moore, Leadership Development Director. "We were…

In an act praised by many across the state, Gov. Bill Lee enacted a recent bill that supports the Tennessee business community in two significant ways: The bill eliminates the alternative minimum property tax. The bill authorizes the state to…

On May 15, Jonah Gibson, 16, walked into his official Signing Day event. There was a hype video, a catered table with specially-made cookies, extra swag and out-of-town officials who gave speeches. As parents and crowd watched, the high school…

On Thursday, May 23, EPB hosts its first annual Supplier Diversity Day, an event that connects the publicly owned utility with small and diverse businesses throughout the region. It's networking, relationship-building and celebration, all in one event.    Multiple big-name industries…

If you were to take a quick survey of national headlines, you’d encounter gloom and doom-type discussions around commercial real estate. Much of this is thanks to the popularity of remote work, a trend accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.   As…

Sign up for weekly updates.