Memphis economy examined through lens of U of M, EDGE partnership

The Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis along with the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County, have partnered to develop a data warehouse, web portal, and editorial content for local economic research.

“Our partnership with the University of Memphis will create new understanding and ultimately, new opportunity,” said Reid Dulberger, EDGE president and CEO of the economic development entity that is responsible for approving tax incentive packages and supervising the city’s goals for minority and women-owned small business contracts.

“As economic developers, we need to understand the forces that impact our economy and how we are performing over time and as compared to peer communities.

The research team at the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research will provide an unbiased, fact-based, academic perspective of the Memphis economy which will generate unique insights into the challenges and opportunities within the marketplace.”

The Sparks Bureau has been conducting multidisciplinary research at the University of Memphis since 1963. The department provides training services for state and local government. The partnership's findings, which are consolidated online, track key economic indicators such as employment, demographics and talent.

 “The purpose of this endeavor is to provide curated data that describes the Memphis and Shelby County MSA’s economic condition and provides comparisons to peer metros throughout the country.” said Dr. John Gnuschke, Director, Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Gnuschke hopes that expert information about the regional economy can be a barometer that will help city officials, business leaders, and the community-at-large better understand the Memphis’ economic situation and the impact that has on the city. The research team will publish its findings online quarterly at

Read more articles by J. Dylan Sandifer.

J. Dylan Sandifer is a freelance writer living in Memphis since 2008. They have also contributed writing and research for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, VICE News, and Choose901. 
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