America's New Boomtown City Is ...

Nashville job growthIt isn't just singer-songwriters who are flocking to Nashville these days. So are engineers and nurses, accountants and developers, dental assistants and robot-designers. The country music capital led the nation in job growth last year, according to revised data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reported by The City Paper. The formerly sleepy Southern town is now the nation's brightest spot of opportunity.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Nashville metro area experienced job growth of 3.9 percent, more than any other metro area with a population of more than 1 million. Nashville's music industry -- the second largest in the country after New York's -- employs thousands, but that's not what's powering the boom. Rather, it's the city's flourishing health care sector, and a wave of companies that have packed up their headquarters and moved to the Tennessee capital.

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Health care is the biggest industry in Nashville: The area is home to more than 300 health care companies, reported BusinessClimate.com, including the two enormous and enormously profitable hospital chains Hospital Corporation of America and Community Health Systems Inc. Nashville's reputation as a thriving medical center has built on itself, with more and more companies in the industry gravitating to the Sun Belt city. There are currently over 800 health-care-related job openings in the Nashville area listed at CareerBuilder.com (an AOL Jobs partner).

Employers like the business-friendly climate: Businesses in an array of other industries have also made the southern migration. Citing the lower cost of doing business, Nissan Motor Co. moved its North American headquarters, and 1,300 jobs, from California to a Nashville suburb in 2006. Tennessee has no state income tax, cheap real estate and low living costs, and to seal the deals, Nashville has been exceptionally generous with the tax breaks and credits it offers companies considering a move.

More: 10 Highest-Paying Jobs In A Booming Sector

The business-process-outsourcing firm IQT Inc. announced that it was relocating from New York City to Nashville in 2011, reported Area Development Online, having been tempted by perks like a grant to offset startup costs, and an additional grant for each job created. Company Co-CEO Alex Mortman also said that the city, which is home to dozens of colleges and universities, including Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University, had the "smart, educated, technology savvy people" whom they were looking to hire.

Nashville's culture is also a major draw: "The food scene here, the entertainment scene, the people seem friendly, the employee base seems to be welcoming," Hazem Ouf, president of national restaurant chain American Blue Ribbon Holdings, told WKRN-TV about the company's decision to relocate last year. "Certainly you can feel the Southern hospitality here."

While Tennessee's unemployment rate is stuck above the national average, Nashville's is more than a whole percentage point below. It seems that almost every day a major company is changing its tune about where to be headquartered, and that tune is increasingly being played on a fiddle.


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Filed under: Employment News

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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Just Randa

I wish you'd have used my cooler Instagram pix of downtown than the yellowed shutter stock one. We are proud of our city and like it in 'the best light' :). Thanks for a positive article on the best city in the mid-South!

May 10 2013 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GardensTale

It's too bad people don't like history. The same thing happened with the textile industry in the early 20th century. The industry, attracted by the lower wages, lower taxes, lower union density and sweet deals offered by southern states, moved out of New England to the south. It was great for the south...until the industries found similar deals overseas and left the south en masse.

May 09 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GardensTale's comment
JCamp

There is quite a difference in potential long-term impact to a region between developing around industries that rely on an uneducated, low wage workforce vs. encouraging industries that rely on having the brightest technically savvy, well-educated workers. The former tend to rely on government when jobs are lost, the latter tend to create new growth and opportunity. Education is of paramount importance in the success of an area. We have incredible schools, great culture, great wages, a low cost of living and low taxes, yet many counties around Nashville saw business revenues grow faster than government revenues through the recession. Middle TN is a special place that doesn't play well with the idea that growth is something that 'happens'. We believe that growth is created.

May 21 2013 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barbara

uptil I looked at the paycheck which was of $4995, I have faith that...my... mother in law could realey earning money in there spare time on their apple laptop.. there sisters neighbour had bean doing this 4 less than eight months and as of now cleared the mortgage on their place and bought a great new GMC. I went here, All29.com

May 09 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
toddisit

Knew it wasn't anything up north, rust belt, stagnant hole with low wages! Don't ever come unless to visit.

May 08 2013 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bsoarman

Nashville is a booming city. No doubt about it. The only problem that this city has is TERRIBLE DRIVERS!!! Bottom line. They will do 45 mph in the left lane on the freeways, or if you are doing the speed limit or a little over the speed limit, they will ride your bumper. Be careful, they will pull out in front of you and you have to slam on your brakes not to hit them. If you honk your horn at them, they just look at you and wonder what they did wrong. Yes Nashville is a friendly city until you get them behind the wheel. And if you think I am being negative, you can ask a lot of people who live in this city and they will tell you the same thing.

May 08 2013 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bsoarman's comment
ska

Amen to that - esp Green Hills drivers!

May 08 2013 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
glen11555

No roof top cry babies here when the River flooded the entire city

May 08 2013 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
WMHinPS

And some times they have major explosions.

May 08 2013 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
josephcasanova

White trash, guns and Christianity! BARF!

May 08 2013 at 9:57 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to josephcasanova's comment
dedndogyrs

Where I live I'd be happy if I heard people speak English once in a while.

May 08 2013 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whitneygre

Red States Rock!

May 08 2013 at 7:25 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to whitneygre's comment

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