While everyone from astrologists to historians to cryptozoologist argue whether or not the world will end in 2012, economists have a different forecast ahead: the complete recovery of the Nashville economy.
Not only is Nashville expected to return to its former job levels before the recession hit; Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston, Memphis, New York, Philadelphia and a dozen other cities are expected to return to “normal” as well. Several other cities, including Houston and Fort Worth, are predicted to make their comeback even earlier, by 2011.
Given that the previous unemployment levels up to 2006 were under 6% across the state, it will be a much welcomed return from the current levels of 10.8%.
Though many are skeptic about the idea of such a quick full recovery, it can be explained by a variety of factors. In the city of Nashville specifically, the number of unemployed people might be high, but the economy simply hasn’t stopped expanding.
New businesses continually court the city, creating more and more jobs that are slowly but surely dwindling the numbers of those who remain unemployed. Local jobs in the area will simply keep increasing as long as this trend continues.
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce research director Garrett Harper says, “Through the ‘90s we’ve had a very very strong job growth in the Nashville area. Business is in an expansive mode.” Throughout the ‘90s, in fact, the local rate of non-agricultural job additions more than doubled the national average; at a 31.4% growth, it has cushioned the city for a full recovery.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that all businesses are set to recover. Downsizing has been taking place in the distribution industry, as well as in the city’s textile production companies. However, Harper says that these are due to changes in the industries overall across the country more than the current economic climate.
Tennessee’s Commissioner of Economic Development Bill Baxter confirms that “any of those layoffs have been offset by job growth.” This growth has been shown largely in the service industry, along with real estate, finance, banking, manufacturing, insurance, music, retail and wholesale trade, printing, and distribution companies—as well as in the department of technology, a new area for the city.
Some of the most successful businesses currently in the city include Aladdin Industries, BellSouth, Armstrong Wood Products, CJ Advertising, Coca-Cola Bottling, Flexsol Packaging, Bindtech, Dell, AmSouth Bank, Century II Staffing, and Bridgestone.