Chamber's Business Conditions Council Discusses Middle Tennessee's Economic Outlook

This month, the Business Conditions Council convened for its quarterly meeting to discuss changes in the Middle Tennessee economy. The Council is composed of C-Suite business leaders representing diverse industries in the middle Tennessee area. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Research team shared economic data to provide context and predictions of the region’s economic performance. Highlights include:

  • As of August 2022, the unemployment rate for the Nashville MSA is 2.8%, compared with 3.7% national unemployment rate.
  • The labor force is currently at 1,125,371, down slightly from the previous month’s 1,136,373. This figure includes those who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking employment.
  • The overall cost of living index for Nashville, 98.7, is still below the national index of 100.0.

Members of the council also discussed some of the problems facing their industries. Finding and retaining adequate staffing and supply chain issues were just a few of the challenges brought up in the meeting. Highlights include:

  • In the hospitality and tourism industry, demand has been strong, and the biggest challenge has been finding adequate staffing. Employers have had to raise wages to recruit and retain talent as well as offer incentives to help attract talent.
  • An effective strategy that one leader has used was to promote from within when possible and to provide referral incentives for current employees to recruit talent.
  • In real estate, the rise of interest rates has slowed demand. Refinance mortgages have been significantly reduced, yet prices have remained stable.
  • In the tech industry, staffing remains a significant challenge for some companies, with experienced tech workers, i.e., those with 5-7 years of experience, being in highest demand.

Overall, the outlook for the economy is bright despite challenges such as workforce and supply chain. The Nashville MSA had the fourth highest job growth rate of all national MSA’s with a population of at least one. Despite talks of recessions and layoffs, our region still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

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