Google says it contributed $4.6 billion To Tennessee's economy in 2020, here's how it breaks down

Google's U.S. economic impact totals $50 billion more than Tennessee's entire gross domestic product, according to the tech company's annual evaluation.

Nationwide, $426 billion was generated by Google and its subsidiaries, its new 2020 Economic Development Report states.

Google ad revenue, payments to YouTube creators and other publishers, and charitable donations totaled $4.6 billion in the Volunteer State in 2020.

The technology giant employs about 250 people as engineers, suppliers and more in Tennessee. Its impact is nevertheless felt far and wide.

"It's a really different thing than what we think of as a traditional economic impact," said Bill Fox, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in Knoxville. "It's not creating new income streams but it is helping us do things better. It's created efficiencies and productivity gains."

Google describes its estimates as conservative because they don't include consumer cost savings from using Google Maps, Analytics, and other digital services.

About 32,000 business, publishers and nonprofit organizations incorporated Google products to boost their online presence and improve communication in 2020, the report found.

The company is preparing to invest more than $7 billion this year in new data centers.

"I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life," Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said. "Google wants to be a part of that recovery."

Google opened its first data center in Tennessee in 2019 with a new $600 million facility in Clarksville.

Last year, the firm gave out $558,000 in charitable grants in the state.

"They're adding value but that's different than adding employment," Fox said. They've helped businesses do things more efficiently, which in many cases means with fewer workers."

Another form of investment the company offers is startup funding for new digital businesses.

Nashville-based Possip started in 2017 with a boost from Google's Startups for Women Founders program.

Now, Possip employs 25 people operating its digital service providing direct parent feedback to schools and districts.

"Google's impact came because of the disruption that allowed us to have the services we had before but with more efficiency," Fox said. "It's much easier for me to find information on Google than it was in the Yellow Pages."

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, Sandy Mazza

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit


Published March 25, 2021