'Forbes' ranks Nashville No. 2 on manufacturing revival list

Magazine says Music City a 'hotbed for foreign investment'

Forbes magazine has ranked the U.S. big cities that are leading a manufacturing revival nationwide, with Nashville placing second on the list.

Houston ranks No. 1, with Nashville Southern peer cities making the Top 10 including Louisville (No. 4), Birmingham (No. 6), Austin (No. 7) and Fort Worth (No. 10).

As to Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Forbes writes:

“Nashville has become a hotbed for foreign investment in manufacturing, with the expansion of the Nissan facilities in nearby Smyrna, as well as a host of suppliers.”

The list’s release comes as Michigan-based auto components manufacture r Hatch Stamping Co. announced it will open a new facility in Portland creating 101 new jobs in January 2015 (read more here).

The list, based on 2013 numbers and focusing on post-recession progress that Forbes headlines “America’s New Industrial Boomtowns,” shows the Nashville metro area with a manufacturing employment number of 72,300. From 2008-13, the metro area’s job growth was 6.7 percent, Forbes reports.

Catherine Glover, president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Tennessee Manufacturers Association, attributed Nashville’s rise to a renewed focus on industry-specific training, employees who understand advanced manufacturing in particular, and the importance of certification.

“There is so much going on, but one of the key areas of improvement and focus has been on the development of a more ready workforce,” said Glover (pictured).

Tim L. Spires, president and CEO of the Tennessee Association of Manufacturers, said both Nashville and the state have experienced “a tremendous growth in manufacturing jobs over the last few years” with the auto sector leading the way. 

“The addition of the Tennessee Promise [scholarship program for those qualified students seeking a tuition-free associate’s degree] will be instrumental in providing job seekers opportunities for education beyond high school that is needed by employers today,” he said. “This latest endorsement by Forbes continues to prove that Tennessee is in the spotlight for opportunities for foreign investment in the manufacturing sector as well as growth from existing manufacturers."