2023 Middle Tennessee Economy in Review

In a year marked by dramatic national economic predictions, the Nashville MSA experienced one of its best years in recent history. Average household income increased by more than 10% from 2021-2022, unemployment hovered at a record 2.7%, and Middle Tennessee remained relatively insulated from national inflationary increases. As we reflect on the past year, it’s clear that our region has navigated global challenges with remarkable adaptability, but that potential economic hazards still lurk in 2024. This review highlights key economic indicators, such as job growth, industry performance, and investment trends, to provide a comprehensive overview of our region’s economic health. The charts below are interactive for additional context.

One notable trend differentiating the Nashville MSA from peer cities is its robust and dynamic workforce market. There are more than 120,000 students enrolled in more than 20 colleges/universities, so it’s no wonder companies and talent alike are flocking to the unique opportunities being created here.

In 2023 Middle Tennessee saw significant job growth, particularly in the technology and healthcare sectors, totaling 24,000 new jobs.

While this growth is a testament to our region’s ability to attract and nurture talent, workforce pipelines still need community-wide investment to fill the more than 50,000 job openings in the Nashville MSA.

Industry growth throughout 2023 was well balanced, seeing employment grow across most sectors.

With professional, scientific & technical services industry seeing a strong 6.4% increase in employment. This industry contains such areas as legal services, accounting and bookkeeping, advertising, and scientific research occupations. This industry is highly technical and brings with it high wage, high demand jobs.

Nashville’s economy has ended 2023 on a strong note, showing balanced growth in its industries and continuing it’s trajectory of economic development and increased prosperity. We project that 2024 brings a moderated level of growth. The last 3 years have been an incredible ride in the local economic community. The pandemic dealt a blow to Nashville’s vibrant hospitality industry. However, we recovered and grew at an unprecedented pace, showing the second highest GDP growth rate in the country after the 2020 economic crisis.

Inflation and rising costs became the national story in 2021 & 2022. Despite rising interest rates, our economy remained resilient in 2023 and still grew. We project that growth to continue at a more stable rate in 2024 and beyond. We expect our population to continue to grow and for us to continue to attract companies looking to grow in an economically prosperous environment.

While these metrics and trends tell an important story, the true growth comes from the strength of our diversified and interconnected business community.

As we look ahead into 2024, we encourage our members to use this data for strategic planning, recognizing the opportunities, seen and unseen, that lie within our economic landscape. The chamber’s independent Research Center is a frequently used resource for members seeking custom data reports and analyses. Contact the chamber’s economic development and research divisions at the links below with any questions.

Visit the chamber’s event page at nashvillechamber.com/events to increase your community engagement and connect with new leaders.

Written by Jeff Hite, Chief Economic Development Officer and Bishoy Mikhail, Vice President of Research and Director of the Chamber Research Center