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Nashville economy outpacing U.S. average

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville's economy ranks as one of the fastest-growing metro economies in the country, according to a report released at the United States Conference of Mayors.

The new report shows that Nashville ranks third in the U.S. based on the rate of growth of the gross metropolitan product, or GMP, which measures the value of all goods and services produced in a metro area, The Tennessean reported.

The report shows that 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, Texas, and San Jose, California, beat out Nashville.

Nashville's high ranking isn't surprising, said David Penn, an economics professor at Middle Tennessee State University.

"We've blown the top off the recovery for employment growth, we are way past our previous recession peak, and we have been the hot spot in the state for some time," he said.

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 IHS Global. The report said that 33 U.S. metros surpassed $100 billion in GMP in 2013, led by $1.4 trillion in New York.

Nashville's GMP during 2013 was $96.3 billion, it said. The report said that Austin, Columbus, Ohio, and Sacramento, California joined the elite club in 2013. It projected that Las Vegas and Nashville will reach the $100 billion mark this year.

Part of the reason Nashville has experienced fast GMP growth relative to other places is the diversity of its economy, said Matt Murray, associate director of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Center for Business and Economic Research.

"Nashville's got such a rich array of health care services, financial services, and of course it has the entertainment industry," Murray said.

That means the city's economy doesn't lean too hard on any one sector, he said.

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