NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Another prestigious list is out, and Nashville is in the top ten, beating out several other big cities like Denver and Seattle.
This year, the 2021 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks the Nashville metro at the eighth best-performing city. The index tracks the economic performance of around 400 U.S. metropolitan areas.
In 2020, Nashville was ranked 14. We’re told it was our year over year job growth, five-year wage growth, and high-tech GDP growth that helped bump us six spots up the list.
This year’s rankings focused on jobs, wages, high-tech growth, housing affordability and household broadband access.
“It’s a sign your city is still robust adding jobs, it’s able to weather a number of different challenges going on, and what it really positions a city for is being able to continue to not only add jobs but jobs that pay well,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics.
In addition, the Nashville Metro has a comparatively low cost of living, and doing business and the abundance of cultural and natural amenities provide a high quality of life.
“One of the interesting things that people don’t talk about outside of Nashville is just how well Nashville’s high-tech sector has been growing especially over the past several years,” said Kowden, “Although it’s been growing well, it’s not that diverse, it’s mostly focused on a smaller number of tech sectors and industries, and that means if there’s a downturn in that particular area it can have a disproportional effect.”
Nashville’s emerging tech sector provides high-paying jobs to the region, and businesses are attracted by a business-friendly environment, low cost of living and of doing business, and a quality talent pool, as well as a high quality of life and natural amenities.
“[Nashville] is at this point where they can absorb the new people, there are enough different jobs there were people feel if something happens, they have other options and that the quality of life is good enough that they want to stay,” said Klowden.
Klowden says the report wasn’t able to capture the full scope of the pandemic, but they did include a job snapshot that gives us an idea.
“It suggests that what’s been driving people to Nashville isn’t as much as a lure or hasn’t quite been able to generate as much as economic activity during the pandemic, but that’s true for most large cities.”