City Spotlight: Nashville

September 19, 2019
Author: ThinkWhy Analyst

The Music City has long been home to aspiring musicians and great barbeque, but now Nashville is building an even bigger fan base as an employment hub, particularly for technology and professional services jobs.

In general, Nashville’s numbers outpace the national average when it comes to economic factors such as employment and costs for many goods and services. But the city, which continues to be named one of the “Best places to live in the U.S.” delivers a total live-work-play experience that is keeping young professionals tied to the area.

Nashville Has a Strong Work-Live-Play Opportunity That Attracts Employers and Employees

Job Outlook

Nashville’s unemployment rate was at 3.4 percent as of July 2019, and the area gained about 2,330 jobs for a growth rate of 2.3 percent. The city is attracting professionals seeking jobs in technology and health-technology. For now, businesses in these arenas have easy access to talent. Once more tech and health-tech businesses move into the city, the heat will be on to keep talent.

While there are more than 40,000 businesses in the metro, the industries with leading employment are:

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (19.2 percent)
  • Professional and Business Services (16.5 percent)
  • Education and Health Services (14.7 percent)

Some of the top employers include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissan North America, HCA Healthcare Inc., Vanderbilt University and Saint Thomas Health. Nashville is also home to 11 Fortune 1000 companies and more than 330 foreign-owned companies, which have relocated or expanded to the area because of the business-friendly climate and deep labor pool.

Nashville is also the new home of a slew of technology startups. Entrepreneur-run companies like Axial Healthcare, Built Technologies, YouScience, Lucent Health Solutions and GoNoodle have all set up shop in Nashville, bringing more jobs and cutting-edge innovation in healthcare, construction and workforce development.


From 2018 through June 2019, the Nashville metro area saw wages increase by more than 5 percent. As of July 2019, wage growth was slowing down to hover at 3.3 percent, which is still higher than the national average. Within the Nashville area, Davidson County leads with the highest average wages. As more tech-focused businesses move to the area, wages may continue to rise, particularly in the tech sector.

Living in Nashville

For new graduates and young professionals, Nashville offers an array of neighborhoods and housing options that align with current income and career aspirations. While home prices have increased by about 5.2 percent, Nashville is still considered affordable and more than half of the population chooses to own over renting.

Nashville is forecasted to continue to be one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, with an estimated gross domestic product growth of 2.4 percent through 2035. This growth is a catalyst for a healthy job market with ongoing opportunities for professionals across all career stages.

Expansive employment opportunities, as well as factors like job availability, lifestyle amenities and low cost of living will keep employees and graduates of area universities tied to the area. Businesses looking to move into the area should see sufficient young talent as well as a favorable landscape to start or build a business.

City Shout Outs

  • Nashville has been named one of the “Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2019,” according to Thrillist.
  • As a hub for the state, Nashville is also one of the nation’s “Most Livable State Capitals,” according to SmartAsset.
  • SmartAsset, unsurprisingly, also ranks Nashville as a “Top 10 Place to Live for Creatives” (nearly 2,000 musicians are in the area).
  • Travel and Leisure ranked Nashville as the 7th best city in the U.S. in its “Top 15 Best Cities in the United States” list.

Overall, few cities can rival the affordability and excitement alongside the strong business opportunities that Nashville offers.