By Charlane Oliver
Outlook Williamson, presented this year by Skanska, took place Tuesday, March 15 at The Factory at Franklin. A crowd of more than 300 Williamson County business owners, realtors, developers and community leaders attended the half-day economic forum that featured presentations and panel discussions by industry-leading economic experts and developers, including: Ann Petersen, J.D., vice president of business and economic incentives, Jones Lang LaSalle; Mark Traylor, director of retail properties, Boyle Nashville, LLC; Axson West, principal, Southeast Venture Real Estate Services; Jason Holwerda, vice president of brokerage services, Foundry Commercial; Glenn Wilson, founder and CEO, SouthStar; and Alcott Whitney Co-Founder Jim Alcott and Director of Business Development and Client Loyalty Knight Stivender. They provided an in-depth picture of Williamson County’s growing economy and using the latest emerging trends, data and growth projections.
Williamson, Inc., the county’s chamber of commerce, released the award-winning 2016 Williamson County Trends Report, a 30-page statistical summary produced by Williamson, Inc. Economic Development in partnership with Franklin-based market research firm Alcott Whitney. The report examines projected trends over the next 10 and 20 years related to changing demographics, the business climate, education, transportation, health, housing, charitable giving, diversity and the workforce for the county.
We have the best schools in the state, our way of life is attractive, businesses are booming and our county is growing exponentially. You already know this (because we’ve said it over and over). But, here’s 12 facts from the report that you didn’t know about Williamson County:
1. Williamson County is adding jobs faster than anywhere in the U.S. For the first time in history, Williamson County led the nation in job growth at 6.5 percent, which is more than triple the national average, from September 2014 to September 2015. There will be 24,348 jobs expected to added by 2025, proving that companies and jobs are attracted to our county. It makes sense that we boast the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3 percent.
2. Williamson County ranks #1 for absolute population growth. We’re already the fastest-growing county in the state; by 2035, Williamson County’s population will be the size that Nashville is today.
3. Transplant residents are flocking to Williamson County in large numbers. In fact, 49 percent of residents are not born in Tennessee. From 2009-2013, the top cities that residents have relocated from include: Orlando, Tampa, Los Angeles, Birmingham, Atlanta, Lewisburg, W. Va and Muncie, Ind.
4. Of foreign-born residents of Williamson County, the majority are from India. Williamson County’s Asian-born population is 45 percent higher than the percentage of Asian-born residents nationwide.
5. The traffic count on Interstate 65 today will be the traffic count at the Carothers/McEwen intersection in Cool Springs in the next 10 years. That’s why we’re not waiting on federal or state funding to fix our traffic problems. Williamson, Inc. is spearheading the inaugural Mobility Week, a county-wide campaign coming Sept. 12-16 to implement practical ways to reduce traffic congestion on the county’s major roadways.
6. There’s no such thing as “going against traffic” anymore. More than 28,000 Williamson residents commute to Davidson County for work, while more than 26,000 travel in the opposite direction. Approximately 23 percent of Hickman and Maury county’s workforce commutes to Williamson.
7. Williamson County is the healthiest in the state. With one of the best patient-to-doctor ratios at 699:1, employees use far less sick days and mental health days compared to peer U.S. cities and top U.S. performers. Fewer sick days means a healthy, more productive workforce.
8. Life Time Fitness is coming to Cool Springs. SouthStar announced during Outlook Williamson that the national health club chain will open its first Middle Tennessee location in the Carothers East development at the northeast corner of Carothers Parkway and Liberty Pike. It is expected to open in summer 2017.
9. Apparently, it’s cool to be in Cool Springs. Home to corporate giants such as Nissan North America, Healthways, HCA, UBS, Community Health Systems and Jackson National Life Insurance, companies are eager to snag this corporate address. The area has only a 0.9 percent vacancy rate.
10. Williamson County leads in charitable giving. We give 3.71 percent of our adjusted gross income compared to peer cities and volunteer more than 37 hours annually.
11. Williamson County has one of the lowest costs of living at $95, below the national average of $100, compared to other peer cities like Austin, Atlanta or Charlotte. It can be easy to assume that things are getting too expensive here, but the numbers show a different perspective.
12. Your leaders are scoping out the scene to make Williamson County even better. Economic development staff and county officials work diligently to recruit company headquarters, meet with site selection consultants, build our top-performing schools and attract newcomers and tourists. They’re also surveying peer cities who have tackled similar growth problems and solved them well. Williamson, Inc. will be jet setting to Denver, Colorado in fall 2017 for another Williamson Forward trip to bring back best practices that will help our county stay on the fast-track to growth.
This story first appeared in the April 2016 issue of The Point. Read the entire issue here. Data from this article was sourced from the 2016 Williamson County Trends Report. Download a free copy here. For more photos, video, news stories, tweets and presentation slides from Outlook Williamson, click here for a complete recap.