NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville is on top.

It’s a title given to through a new report that shows Music City outranks nine other high-performing metros in overall comparison.

According to Dr. Eric Thompson, Director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nashville is popular — he was part of the team compiling data for the 2020 Barometer Report spans eight economic and performance-related categories and examines nearly 40 different factors – including private wages per job, labor force participation rate, and cost of living.

“It’s just growing in general,” Thompson said.

  • Nashville ranks No. 1, in the growth category bolstered by strong sub-set rankings in total employment (No. 2), private wage growth (No. 2), private wages per job (No. 3) and unemployment rate (No. 3).
  • Nashville ranks No. 1 in entrepreneurship with ‘top four’ or better rankings in four of six sub-categories.
  • Nashville ranks No. 2 in infrastructure capacity, indicators of which include miles of interstate highway, air passenger enplanements and transportation services.
  • For quality of life, Nashville ranks No. 2 with high marks in the sub-categories of health care access (No. 3) and air quality (No. 4)
  • Nashville ranks No. 4 in the category of private capital with strong showings in the sub-categories of private equipment (No. 3) and intellectual property products (No. 4).

The problem is, the data was pulled prior to the pandemic, so what does this mean for our city come 2021?

Ralph Shulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce said, “The things making us popular economically before COVID-19 are the things that will bring us out.”

Out of an economic crisis, that is.

If you go back and measure a year from now, Nashville may not do quite as well but I think the good news is in a typical year Nashville is going to be a leader among these metro areas.”

Shulz said our popularity in 2019 will be our platform for recovery in 2020 and into 2021.

“There will be some jobs that won’t come back, you know, a lot of businesses have found that admin duties can be automated,” Shulz said. “The positive message is we’re a pretty resilient economy, we’ve proven that in floods, we’ve proven that in recessions, so when you look at employment recovery going out to the fall of 2021 you can see most of those jobs are coming back.”

“Business cycles tend to hit Nashville a little bit harder than Omaha and other metro areas,” Thompson said. “When the U.S economy is doing great, Nashville tends to grow really fast.”

“You can feel the upward movement when you talk to people,” Schulz said, who added in the last two-months alone, 30 companies have shown interest in moving their business operations here.

In addition, the chamber’s COVID-19 economic impact analysis shows staggered returns for various sectors, with mots returning to pre-COVID-19 economic activity in the third quarter of 2021.

Shulz said the chamber is guessing hospitality and leisure sectors return to pre-pandemic levels mid 2022.

According to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Economic Impact Analysis, over the course of the year in Nashville there’s been a net loss of 128,000 jobs–12.3-percent of the current labor force.

Commissioned by the Greater Omaha Chamber, the 2020 Barometer was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln BBR, in coordination with the Chamber’s Business Intelligence Department.

News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.