“Any setback is a setback for Memphis”: Economist reflects on FedEx challenges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The CEO of the largest employer in Memphis predicts a global recession, but one local economist doesn’t believe the company’s setbacks will tremendously influence the lives of Mid-South residents.

“While the economy is slowing, it’s going to be very minor for most Memphians,” said John Gnuschke.

RELATED: FedEx to close stores, put off hiring as demand slumps

The company is by far, the largest employer in the Bluff City. According to the Greater Memphis Chamber, FedEx employed 30,000 in 2018 – more than double that of the state government, the second largest employer.

“We do know that any setback is a setback for Memphis,” Gnuschke said. “We want them to grow and prosper. When they grow and prosper, we grow and prosper.”

When FOX13 inquired if any of the 310 Memphis job opportunities posted on the FedEx site would be removed, a spokeswoman wrote, “Our 550,000 employees around the world are ready to deliver for this year’s peak season. We continue to hire for operational positions needed in certain locations.”

When asked again if the 310 positions would be filled, she did not respond.

FOX13 also asked if the Memphis International Airport would see a loss in revenue with grounded flights. A spokesman confirmed current landing fees are almost $1.44 per 1,000 pounds of landed weight, but could not comment on whether the FedEx announcement would directly impact the airport’s revenue.

“FedEx would be your best resource for any information about their operations,” the airport spokesman confirmed.

However, Gnuschke did not believe the region is close to a recession.

“I can’t imagine the economy is going the way it was in 2008,” he said. “That was a severe recession. And I don’t think we’re anywhere near that. The labor market is still strong, the domestic economy still has very positive signs of growth.”