Research in Review - August 24, 2017

This weekly blog post will serve to share the most exciting research developments and data in Nashville, Middle Tennessee, nationally and even internationally that are relevant to the mission of our organization. If you have any questions, please contact our research team.


This report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition examines the shortage of affordable housing across the United States. This a growing issue in the region; however, Nashville performs relatively well with 42 units affordable for low or extremely low income renters per 100 renter households compared to the national average of 35.


Brookings examines automation across the country by looking at the number of industrial robots per worker in metro areas. Automation has been a popular topic recently and Nashville ranks 5 out of the 100 largest metro areas in the country in terms of the number of robots per worker. This is mainly due to the large manufacturing industry in the Nashville region. The number of robots in operation in the region tripled between 2010 and 2015.

The Economic Policy Institute discusses the slow recovery of construction and manufacturing jobs from the recession. These jobs have traditionally provided well-paying opportunities for workers and have been an important component of the economy. While the number of manufacturing and construction jobs in Nashville has declined since 2008, the decline has been smaller than the national average. In fact, the construction and manufacturing industries account for more than 130,000 jobs in the region. 

A Brookings report examines exports across metro areas in the United States. Nationally, exports have grown steadily since the recession, with a slight decrease between 2014 and 2016. This profile provides more detailed information on Nashville exports and highlights the impressive growth in the region’s exports since 2008. Nashville exports have grown at an annual rate of 3.4%, ranking 10th in annual growth among the 100 largest metro areas in the country.

Education and Workforce

Brookings also examines the national labor force participation decline since 1999 by studying who isn’t active in the labor force and reasons for not participating. Nationally, more than 24 million prime working age (25-54) adults are not participating in the labor force. The Nashville region has a higher labor force participation rate than the rest of the nation (67.6% vs. 62.8%), with roughly 130,000 prime working age adults not participating in the labor force.

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