Dr. Garrett Harper
Vice President of Research and Information
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
The Nashville Region economy continues to experience solid growth and recovery. Foundations of the local economy – diversity of industry, strong entrepreneurial activity, and a favorable location – have helped this area outperform the nation and the state in every growth cycle of the economy since the 1970s. Job growth in the Nashville market has been stronger again in the current recovery than in the U.S. or the state overall; meanwhile, unemployment has declined faster in the Nashville market since 2009 relative to the rest of the country and many major metropolitan regions in the Southeast. A strong local healthcare and education sector buoyed Nashville during the recession. That sector, along with business and professional services, construction, manufacturing and others have exhibited very positive growth over the past year and half in this area.
For the longer term, the Nashville region’s quality of life will be vitally important to secure the talent needed to sustain and grow the area economy. With particular growth in jobs in the years ahead in service sector clusters with intensive education and training requirements, the role of more higher education completion becomes imperative. Declining labor force participation rates in general and the aging workforce will add further challenge to quickly adapting to frequently changing circumstances in the supply and demand in the workforce. The deficit of number of workers overall in the Nashville market is projected to grow to over 34,000 by 2021 with even modest assumptions for growth. The continuous and successful alignment of market needs for worker supply and demand in terms of training, credentials and experience provides a major opportunity for the Nashville region to remain highly competitive and prosperous currently and into the future.