The nation’s country music capital didn’t just fare better than the rest of Tennessee during the recession. It also sprang back faster. After falling 5% (a loss of 44,000 jobs) from 2007 to 2010, the Nashville metropolitan area, which includes Franklin, Davidson, and Murfreesboro, has regained that and then some with 8% growth (63,000 new jobs) the past three and a half years. Behind Nashville’s success? A lot more than just music. A look at the area’s driver industries and top jobs will prove why.
Driver industries are those that play a key role in the economic vitality of a region by supplying quality, often high-paying jobs. Every regional economy has at least one driver industry, and strong, diverse economies like Nashville’s typically rely on more than one.
To determine the driver industries in Nashville, we filtered for industries with at least 2,000 jobs in 2014, concentration of 1.2 LQ or higher, and wages of $50,000 per year or more. A few other, more advanced factors could be included, but these basic metrics will still give us what we’re looking for.
As we already saw with our recent interactive map of industries that drive the 100 most populous metros in the U.S., Nashville’s top 19 driver industries include big players like manufacturing, finance, and health care (Nashville’s largest sector besides government). And of course, there’s music — although Nashville isn’t the only promising place for aspiring artists to locate, it’s arguably the best.
|NAICS||Sector||Industry||2010 Jobs||2014 Jobs||Change||% Change||2014 LQ|
|Source: EMSI 2014.1 Class of Worker (QCEW Employees)|
|335221||Manufacturing||Household Cooking Appliance Manufacturing||2,277||2,554||277||12%||40.35|
|336370||Manufacturing||Motor Vehicle Metal Stamping||1,641||2,407||766||47%||5.76|
|443112||Retail Trade||Radio, Television, and Other Electronics Stores||3,162||4,155||993||31%||2.00|
|443120||Retail Trade||Computer and Software Stores||2,049||2,698||649||32%||4.39|
|484121||Transportation & Warehousing||General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance, Truckload||8,508||9,595||1,087||13%||2.72|
|488510||Transportation & Warehousing||Freight Transportation Arrangement||1,645||2,380||735||45%||1.95|
|518210||Information||Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services||2,914||3,695||781||27%||2.39|
|524126||Finance & Insurance||Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Carriers||4,922||4,556||(366)||(7%)||1.55|
|524210||Finance & Insurance||Insurance Agencies and Brokerages||7,480||8,444||964||13%||1.49|
|541214||Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||Payroll Services||3,858||5,143||1,285||33%||4.75|
|541219||Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||Other Accounting Services||3,646||5,405||1,759||48%||2.64|
|551114||Management of Companies & Enterprises||Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices||10,491||14,354||3,863||37%||1.23|
|561422||Administrative & Support and Waste Management & Remediation Services||Telemarketing Bureaus and Other Contact Centers||1,903||3,420||1,517||80%||1.28|
|621340||Health Care & Social Assistance||Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists||2,129||2,664||535||25%||1.30|
|621511||Health Care & Social Assistance||Medical Laboratories||2,014||2,619||605||30%||2.36|
|622310||Health Care & Social Assistance||Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals (Private)||17,168||11,258||(5,910)||(34%)||8.32|
|903622||Government||Hospitals (Local Government)||6,736||6,908||172||3%||1.79|
|711130||Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation||Musical Groups and Artists||2,132||2,372||240||11%||8.66|
Let’s take a closer look at automobile manufacturing and health care.
Automobile manufacturing suffered the worst during the recession, when it plummeted by 30% and lost nearly 2,500 jobs. Since then, the industry has seen impressive 51% growth (3,000 new jobs). The industry’s growth is especially remarkable when we take into consideration the fact that, nationwide, automobile manufacturing steadily declined from 2001 to 2010 — and has only just begun to inch back up. The Nashville metro makes up 82% of total automobile manufacturing jobs in Tennessee, and the industry is also one of the most compelling industries in the region with a location quotient of 13.3. In other words, Nashville has over 13 times as many automobile manufacturing jobs as the national average. (Location quotient, or LQ, measures an industry’s concentration in a particular region and is a way of showing how unique the area is due to its presence. For more on location quotient, click here.)
The giant health care sector includes some of Nashville’s biggest employees — companies such as Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which alone generated over 70% of the University’s $8.6 billion impact on the region. While health care might be one of Nashville’s legitimate boasts, not all of the sub-industries have done so well since the recession. Specialty hospitals (except psychiatric and substance abuse) actually spiked during the nation’s roughest years, adding nearly 10,000 jobs, an increase of 131%. Since then, however, the industry has shed close to 6,000 jobs, a 34% drop, and declined in concentration from 14.88 to 8.32 LQ. Hospitals (local government) are steadier with 3% growth.
Nashville’s top job postings for health care industries reveal a similar list. Remember, job postings are not the same as job openings; openings are actual positions that need to be filled while postings are the advertisements for those positions. Hence, a single job opening could have any number of postings. Nevertheless, the amount of postings for these industries does say something about the need for new hires within several of the area’s driver industries:
|Top Job Posting Industries||# of Job Postings|
|General Medical And Surgical Hospitals||4,222|
|Colleges, Universities, And Professional Schools||3,136|
|Offices Of Physicians (Except Mental Health Specialists)||1,361|
|Psychiatric And Substance Abuse Hospitals||1,360|
|Home Health Care Services||944|
|Other Management Consulting Services||679|
|Specialty (Except Psychiatric And Substance Abuse) Hospitals||546|
|Direct Health And Medical Insurance Carriers||359|
|Nursery And Tree Production||328|
|Lessors Of Nonresidential Buildings (Except Miniwarehouses)||281|
Business, finance, management, and sales occupations lead Nashville’s top jobs for 2014, which comes as no surprise; Nashville is home to dozens of Inc. 5000 companies. Filtering for major occupations (500 total jobs in 2014) that show solid post-recession growth, pay solid wages, and have significant concentration in the area, we derived the list in the table below.
A few takeaways:
- Accountants and auditors are growing the fastest with 1,769 new jobs (18% increase) since 2010, followed by insurance sales agents with 890 new jobs (19%).
- Not surprisingly, agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes have the highest concentration (5.48 LQ). Musicians and singers (4.07 LQ) aren’t far behind. In keeping with health care’s robust local presence, nurse anesthetists are also quite concentrated (3.49 LQ).
- Unlike the leading jobs in many areas, these thriving occupations don’t require a hefty amount of higher education across the board — though having a degree in, say, finance or business wouldn’t hurt your chances. Musician and singing jobs often require pure talent and serendipity more than they do years of technical study. Managerial positions in some cases need only work experience.
|SOC||Description||2010 Jobs||2014 Jobs||Change||% Change||2014 LQ||Median Hourly Earnings||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI 2014.1 Class of Worker (QCEW Employees)|
|13-2011||Accountants and Auditors||9,720||11,489||1,769||18%||1.47||$29.00||Bachelor's degree|
|41-3021||Insurance Sales Agents||4,693||5,583||890||19%||1.30||$21.17||Moderate-term on-the-job training|
|41-4011||Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products||4,280||4,967||687||16%||2.09||$25.93||Bachelor's degree|
|11-3031||Financial Managers||4,450||4,895||445||10%||1.58||$46.70||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|
|27-2042||Musicians and Singers||3,892||4,470||578||15%||4.07||$24.12||Long-term on-the-job training|
|11-1011||Chief Executives||3,688||3,946||258||7%||2.12||$65.92||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|
|11-3011||Administrative Services Managers||2,164||2,284||120||6%||1.38||$32.30||Work experience in a related occupation|
|11-2021||Marketing Managers||1,331||1,535||204||15%||1.35||$39.67||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|
|11-3071||Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers||888||1,009||121||14%||1.62||$24.67||Work experience in a related occupation|
|51-4111||Tool and Die Makers||622||764||142||23%||1.66||$21.43||Long-term on-the-job training|
|29-1151||Nurse Anesthetists||710||759||49||7%||3.49||$62.67||Master's degree|
|13-1011||Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes||586||708||122||21%||5.48||$20.33||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|