Working & the Economy


Congress knows how to slash child poverty. It just needs to do it.

BY: - November 25, 2022

If you could prevent millions of children from falling back into poverty, would you? Most of us, I imagine, would answer “yes” without hesitation. But not Congress. For nearly a year, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have dithered as the policy directly responsible for a dramatic decline in poverty last year lapsed. It’s time for Congress […]

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 21: A fleet of Rivian Electric Delivery Vehicles (EDV) are seen connected to electric chargers during a launch event between Amazon and Rivian at an Amazon facility on July 21, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. This unveiling is major milestone towards Amazon's goal of having 100,000 Rivian EDVs on the road by 2030, and Amazon has made a Climate Pledge commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040 and has also pledged to guarantee 50% of all shipments reach net zero carbon by 2030. (Photo by Mustafa Hussain/Getty Images)

LG Chem to invest $3.2B in Clarksville battery operation

BY: - November 22, 2022

LG Chem and state officials announced Monday the South Korean company will invest $3.2 billion in a new cathode manufacturing facility in Clarksville to support the production of electric battery vehicles. The project is expected to create 860 new jobs in Montgomery County and represents the largest single foreign direct investment in state history, according […]

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

BY: - November 21, 2022

An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country.  In 2020, investor-owned electric utilities spent $25 billion on transmission, up from $23.7 billion in 2019, figures that the Edison Electric Institute, […]

Cardboard cutouts of fans and celebrities are placed in seats at Nissan Stadium, current home of the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by John Partipilo.)

How to pay for a football team

BY: - November 16, 2022

(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misstated the condition of a sales tax related to sales outside the stadium.)  To economists, a $2 billion deal for a new Titans stadium is another egregious example of subsidizing privately-owned teams at taxpayer expense. But to Nashville officials, it’s the way out of an eye-popping renovation bill […]

University of Memphis students photographed in 2021 by Karen Pulfer Focht.

Biden student debt relief plan thrown out by Texas judge; new applications halted

BY: - November 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — Late Thursday a federal judge in Texas struck down the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan, ruling that the program is unlawful, in a blow to 16 million student debt borrowers already approved for relief. The U.S. Department of Education now is no longer accepting applications for the program, according to the student […]

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Board Chairman Jerome Powell answers reporters' questions during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) at the bank headquarters on November 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a move to fight inflation, Powell announced that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, the sixth interest rate increase this year and the fourth time in a row at rates this high. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Fed raises interest rates again, signals more coming despite pressure to slow the pace

BY: - November 3, 2022

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that in its continuing efforts to tamp down inflation, it would raise interest rates yet again by another three-quarters of a point to a target range of 3.75 to 4%. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said during a press conference following the announcement that the “historically fast pace” of […]

(Getty Images)

Tennesseans in Appalachia likely to have higher debt and lower income than state average

BY: - October 27, 2022

Tennesseans living in Appalachia are more likely to have medical debt in collections and carry high-interest, subprime loans while earning significantly less than the state and national average, a report by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found. More than half of Tennessee’s 95 counties lie within Appalachia, a region that encompasses 13 states and […]

A barge navigates the historically-low Mississippi River at Memphis. (Photo: Dulce Torres Guzman)

West Tennessee farmers struggle to get crops to market as drought drains Mississippi River

BY: - October 24, 2022

John Dodson’s corn, cotton and soybean fields lie fewer than 10 miles from the Mississippi River, the key transportation artery for west Tennessee grain farmers. But they might as well be a thousand. Historically low water levels on the river are coming at the worst possible time for him. It’s peak harvest season, but he can’t […]

Emily Withnall says she has come a long way from the early days of her illness, but lingering symptoms of long COVID are still present. Chronic fatigue is what plagues her the most, she says. (Photo by Gino Gutierrez)

Millions of workers are dealing with long COVID. Advocates call for expanding social safety net.

BY: - October 24, 2022

Emily Withnall caught COVID-19 from her teenager in July 2020. In the more than two years since, the 40-year-old has suffered from debilitating fatigue, spinal pain and heart palpitations.  In addition to her primary care doctor, she regularly sees a cardiologist and says her acupuncturist and craniosacral therapy help relieve her pain and the trouble […]

A Metro Nashville Public Schools bus. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State officials begin distributing summer food funding for kids — five months late

BY: - October 6, 2022

Nearly three months into the school year, state officials will finally start distributing funds from a federal food program meant to feed families during the summer. When the COVID pandemic led to shuttered schools, federally-funded COVID-19 relief programs allowed children who relied on schools to feed them to continue having meals at home.  Of these […]

Single family home or short term rental? (Photo: John Partipilo)

When misery loves company: housing prices and short term rental woes

BY: - September 29, 2022

For those of us who focus our time and attention on state news coverage, be it through news sites or social media, it’s easy to feel like Tennessee has unique problems. Of course, we do, as every state has issues unique to it. But to quote “Human Family,” written by the late Maya Angelou, “We […]

Middle Tennessee has the greatest number of road miles and highest population of the state's four quadrants, yet will get the least amount of funding in a proposed transportation plan.

Advisory group projects looming deficits in Tennessee road and highway project funding

BY: - September 29, 2022

Higher road construction costs and the increased use of electric and fuel efficient vehicles will take an increasing bite out of revenues needed to keep Tennessee’s public road and bridges repaired and replaced, a government advisory group told lawmakers Wednesday.  By 2040, 10% of all vehicles on Tennessee’s roadways are projected to be electric. Those […]