Auto Manufacturing Jobs In Nashville Area Have Grown Faster Than In Detroit, Study Finds | Nashville Public Radio

Auto Manufacturing Jobs In Nashville Area Have Grown Faster Than In Detroit, Study Finds

Feb 3, 2015

The Nissan Leaf, along with its batteries, are produced at a factory in Smyrna.
Credit Automotive Rhythms via Flickr

Nashville has had more job growth in advanced industries since the recession than any other metro area in the country, according to a new study from the Brookings Institute, and it's largely thanks to motor vehicle manufacturers.

For a manufacturer to be considered “advanced,” one in five employees there has to specialize in technology, engineering, science or math, says Brookings senior policy analyst Scott Andes.

“These industries are different than just traditional manufacturing," he says. "They require skilled workers. They’re well paid.”

In the Nashville area, these companies make medical devices, computer software and household appliances. But the highest concentration of these jobs — and the biggest growth — are in the motor vehicle industry.

Companies that make cars — like Nissan in Smyrna and GM in Spring Hill — now employ 27 percent more people than they did during the recession. Companies that make car parts — like air filter auto supplier Clarcor Inc. in Franklin — grew by 18 percent. 

That’s more growth than Detroit's auto manufacturing industry, Andes says. “The automotive industry is a powerhouse for Nashville."