MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- Economists had mostly good news for mid-state business leaders at a conference in Murfreesboro on Friday.
Economist David Penn, Director of the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University, noted that Middle Tennessee has one of the hottest job markets in the country. Rutherford and Williamson County are routinely listed among the top 20 job producing counties in the U.S.
Penn says the larger metro Nashville area is also doing well.
"Private sector job growth, ranking among the largest MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) in the United States, Number One: Nashville MSA; 4.5 percent growth over the year - generating about 30,000 jobs. So if you're wondering where the fastest growing areas in terms of job growth is, look around. You're in it right now."
Penn says housing construction is also showing steady improvement, as is home price growth, and consumer spending.
Penn says even Tennessee’s stubbornly high unemployment rate can be viewed as a positive sign. He says the recent surge in hiring has encouraged people who stopped looking for work during the years of economic downturn to begin seeking employment once again.
The annual conference is co-sponsored by the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise, the Weatherford Chair of Finance, and the Business and Economic Research Center co-sponsor at MTSU.