Cookeville is a city in Putnam County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 23,923 at the 2000 census. The 2010 Census of Cookeville's population was 30,435, and the combined total of those living in Cookeville's ZIP codes in 2010 was 65,014. It is the county seat of Putnam County and home to Tennessee Technological University. It is recognized as one of the country's micropolitan areas, smaller cities which nevertheless function as significant economic hubs. Of the twenty micropolitan areas in Tennessee, Cookeville is the largest; the Cookeville micropolitan area's 2010 Census population was 106,042.
Known as the "Hub of the Upper Cumberlands," approximately 25,000 people travel to Cookeville daily to work, shop, or attend school.
Cookeville's 2005 retail sales total of $1.16 billion was a 12.4% increase from the 2004 retail sales total. The state's increase was 7.86%.
The December 2006 unemployment rate was 4.7%, down from a high of 6.8% in August 2006 after the closing of two large manufacturing facilities with 1300 employees combined.
Manufacturing is the largest sector in Cookeville's economy with over 100 plants and 8,000 employees. In 2006 Oreck manufacturing moved their Long Beach, Mississippi plant to Cookeville after Hurricane Katrina. Oreck employs about 500 people and is a prominent business in the region. Also in 2006, after nearly 30 years of operation in Cookeville, Russell Stover Candies laid off 900 employees. The former Russell Stover manufacturing facility is now used as a warehouse for candy and employs 30 people.
Even with the loss of 900 Russell Stover and 400 TRW manufacturing jobs, overall employment in Cookeville increased by over 1200 between August 2006 and March 2007, resulting in 33,510 jobs in Cookeville and a March 2007 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent.
With 13% of the workforce, retail trade employs about 4,200 people and is the second largest sector in the Cookeville economy.
Health care workers comprise about 12% of the work force with 3,840 employees.
Cookeville is home to Tennessee Technological University and its 12,158 students. Tennessee Tech is ranked among the Top Public Schools in the South and among the top 40 Best Universities-Master's in U.S. News & World Report's 2005 edition of "America's Best Colleges." TTU was also ranked among the Top Public Schools in the South in the 2003 and 2005 college guides. In 2009, The Princeton Review also listed TTU among the 141 "Best Southeastern Colleges." Also home of the Mastersingers and the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble, led by R. Winston Morris.
Cookeville High School is the largest non-metropolitan school in the state and is one of only eight schools in Tennessee to offer the International Baccalaureate program. The other seven Tennessee schools with the program are in Memphis, Metro Nashville or Tri-Cities, Tennessee. They are also the only high school in the county to have an Army JROTC program. The school has accomplished sports programs as well as a state-ranked academic team. The head principal of Cookeville High School is Lane Ward, while there are several assistant principals for the school. Cookeville High School places emphasis on student leadership and input through its Student Congress.
Cookeville is home to a campus of Nashville State Community College.
Medvance Institute also provides higher education in medical and technical fields.
Tennessee Bible College is a Christian college affiliated with the Churches of Christ.