This week, I was compiling some recently released data for Cheatham County and the other 94 counties in Tennessee. The 2016 U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by County and Labor Force Estimates for Tennessee were released in the past few days. Cheatham County’s population increased 2% in the period from the 2010 Census to the July 1, 2016 Population Estimate. No one could call that wild, out-of-control growth, but I find it especially promising considering the county was experiencing population decline five years ago.
We’ll leave the double-digit population increase celebrations to those sitting in traffic congestion, but I used that hat-wearing-cork-popping time looking at other things the numbers say. With all the talk (and hand wringing) about workforce, I think one number says a lot about how the county’s population views work and the quality of our labor force in Cheatham County. I calculated a labor participation rate by dividing the latest county’s Labor Force Estimate by its latest population estimate. Cheatham County ranked fifth (5th) in the state of Tennessee at 53%. Our neighbor, Davidson County, is number one at 56%. For comparison, Lake County is 95th at 26%.
Think about that, even considering young people, retirees, disabled, adult students, prisoners and otherwise unemployables — 53% of the total population are ready, willing and able to work and be included in the official labor force. And at an unemployment rate of 4.2% in February, most of that labor force was working.
Looking at those numbers, the Nashville Region looks good in labor participation.