Is Nashville the nation's next $100 billion city?

Nashville's economy ranks as one of the fastest-growing in the country, joining other booming cities like Austin and San Jose, according to a new report on metro economies released Friday and the United States Conference of Mayors.

The city ranks third in the country based on the rate of growth of the Gross Metropolitan Product, or GMP, which measures the value of all goods and services produced within a metropolitan area.

During 2013, Nashville grew its GMP by 4.2 percent, double the national average of 2.1 percent growth. In terms of GMP growth, only Austin, Tex. and San Jose, Calif. beat out Nashville.

Though Nashville's GMP has grown quickly, the city has not yet cracked a total GMP of $100 billion, but that is projected to happen this year, according to the report prepared by by IHS Global.

"Led by $1.4 trillion in New York, the [GMP] of 33 U.S. metros surpassed $100 billion in 2013, as Austin, Columbus, and Sacramento joined that elite club," the report says. "In 2014, we project that Las Vegas and Nashville will as well."

The report also makes some creative comparisons by looking at metro GMPs to those of states and even other countries. For example, Nashville's GMP during 2013 was $96.3 billion. That's slightly less than the African country of Angola, which earned a gross domestic product of $96.6 billion during the same time. The city's GMP is slightly higher than Slovakia, which had a 2013 GDP of $95.8 billion.

Compared to other states, Nashville's GMP is less than Nebraska's GDP for 2013, which was $101.8 billion, and, more than New Mexico's GDP, which was $82.3 billion.

Nashville's growth reflects an overall national trend: the increasing economic importance of urban areas.

"Metropolitan areas continued to be the beating heart of the US economy in 2013," the report said. They are also growing. Employment in major cities jumped by 1.9 percent in 2013, and 84 percent of the United States population lives in a metropolitan area.

Combined, the nation's 10 highest-producing metro economies surpassed the output of the 37 lowest-producing states in 2013, according to the report.

Reach Shelley DuBois at 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @shelleydubois.


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