The Memphis metro contains more than 1.3 million residents in the Tennessee counties of Shelby, Fayette and Tipton, Crittenden County in Arkansas and Tate, DeSoto, Tunica and Marshall counties in Mississippi. Shelby is the most populated county with nearly 932,000 residents, nearly 65 percent of the metro's centralized location and favorable business climate; including a low tax structure and "right to work states," attracts companies to the region. Three Fortune 500 companies are located in Memphis, FedEx, Auto Zone and International Paper, as well as five Fortune 1000 corporations.
Distribution and logistics comprise a significant portion of the region’s economy due to its location and intermodal capabilities. Not only is it the headquarters and hub for FedEx, but UPS and USPS also have major operations here. In addition, more than 400 trucking firms operate out of the area, including Swift Transportation, YRC Worldwide and Schneider National. Technicolor and Nike are among the many companies that have major distribution facilities located in the region employing thousands of workers. Nike has three local facilities that provide the company’s major retail distribution for North America. The company recently announced a $301 million expansion of their Northridge facility, and a $25 million upgrade of their building on Shelby Drive. The International Port of Memphis is also a large component of the distribution hub. The port has a $6.7 billion impact on the local economy.
Other industries being promoted by local officials are manufacturing; music, film and tourism; and international business.
The Mississippi River runs through the Memphis MSA forming the border between Tennessee and Arkansas. Other rivers flowing through the region include the Looseahatchie, Coldwater, Hatchie and Wolf. The region is situated over four natural aquifers.