Military impact in East Tennessee nears a billion dollars

Military impact in East Tennessee nears a billion dollars

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The economic impact of the military in East Tennessee is nearly a billion dollars, according to a report released Thursday. 

The East Tennessee Military Affairs Council says military salaries, contracts and indirect jobs in East Tennessee added up to a total economic impact of $943 million in 2013.

"It's a big number certainly, but it ranks with some of the biggest employers in the area in terms of economic impact," said Joe Sutter with ETMAC. "And East Tennessee is very attractive to military retirees from a cost of living, healthcare access, recreation activities, employment opportunities."

Military salaries have also been increasing, but there's been a slight decline in Department of Defense contracts because the war in Afghanistan is winding down and from last year's government shutdown. 

"The other piece of that, in addition to the economic impact, is a lot of these members of these military units are actively involved in our community as well," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.

"Everything we have right now is due to some man or woman went overseas and fought for this country. The impact to me is an intangible," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

"With the amount of conflicts these guys have had to go through all of their lives and the last decades, it's very import to be able to understand that they're still giving back," said Knoxville Chamber President Mike Edwards.

ETMAC compiles economic impact numbers every three years. The 2010 total was $862 million. That's about $80 million less than the new number.

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