Sustainable Growth & Economic Prosperity

Sub-Theme: Franklin will expand and retain business and job opportunities within the community as well as the county.

Franklin has a heritage of economic stability, defying many of the struggles faced in other communities and the nation. This heritage is a result of a dedication to sustainable growth through thoughtful public policy decisions and well‐managed developments. The community values the diversity of high‐quality and high worth places–the mix of suburban and downtown shopping districts that serve the community’s needs and are magnets for out‐of‐town visitors; a vibrant corporate and office environment that is the home to industry‐leading businesses of all sizes; well‐designed and maintained parks and recreational gathering places that also focus on historical, cultural, or natural attributes; and opportunities to pursue a wide range of activities without leaving the community.

City leaders also understand the importance of having a self‐sustaining economic engine that through collaboration and partnership with both private and public entities supports efforts that attract, retain, and create quality jobs to ensure a diverse economic base, a resilient and growing tax base, and thriving neighborhoods.

There are five goals in this sub-theme:

Goal: To increase the number of jobs in the city over the previous year.

As shown above, job growth in Franklin has continued to eclipse goals set through our strategic plan, until the COVID-19 pandemic. Williamson County and Franklin as a whole have continued strong and steady employment growth. A favorable business climate, good schools and excellent civic amenities continue to contribute to a healthy economy. More jobs create more opportunities and more interest in people about Franklin. The significant contraction of jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic will take time to recover.  

Baseline: Jobs in Franklin, Civilian Labor Force Summary, Labor Monthly Report, State of Tennessee - July Annually.

Goal: To maintain the unemployment rate within the city over the previous year below the county and state levels.

Recovering from the global economic recession, Franklin set a goal for itself to both decrease the unemployment rate in the City and to maintain it at a lower level than either Williamson County or the State of Tennessee. Unemployment in Franklin peaked in FY 2009 at 8.3% and has been declining annually. This was achieved for a decade, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. The current rate of 6.5 is still significantly lower than the State of Tennessee and national averages, and follows historic trends where the City unemployment rate has been at least 2% lower than the state average.

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Labor Market Report. (Source: Civilian Labor Force Summary, Labor Monthly Report, July annually).

Goal: To increase the net number of business licenses within the city over the previous year.

Private investment in a city is the single most important contributor to the long-term economic success and stability of local tax bases. Franklin is proud to have a stable and growing tax base with a diverse set of industries which choose to do business here. One way of measuring this contribution is to study the number of business licenses issued and active within the City of Franklin year over year.

New business license issuance in Franklin is steady, with over 400 new business licenses issued annually FY 2012 through 2017. Although the number has dropped slightly each of those fiscal years, the overall level of new activity is healthy for the community and signifies the willingness of private businesses to locate and/or start here in Franklin.

Overall, the City has 7,041 business licenses as of the end of FY 2017.

Source: City of Franklin, Revenue Management) Baseline: Franklin issued 427 new business licenses in FY2012

Source: City of Franklin, Revenue Management) Baseline: Franklin has 5,302 total active business licenses in 2012 (2012 Development Report).

Goal: To increase the success of Fortune 1000 companies located in Franklin over the previous year.

While small businesses are the most numerous kind, and medium sized businesses provide unique opportunities to employees and commerce, Franklin is known for the Fortune 1000 companies which have chosen here as their World or North American headquarters. Fortune 100 companies such as Nissan North America, Community Health Systems, Healthways and Iasis Healthcare have their headquarters in Franklin. Other major companies, such as Jackson National Life Insurance, Ford Motor Credit, Travelers, Mars Petcare and Verizon all have regional headquarters in Franklin.

The City of Franklin will continue to work with the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce in the development of this goal.

Baseline: The number of local people employed by Fortune 1000 companies in Franklin was 11,971 (2012).
Goal: To maintain retail and commercial vacancy rates within Franklin to 30% or less than Nashville MSA rate.

One of the key measures of economic vitality in business districts with large amounts of retail, commercial and office properties is the vacancy rate. The vacancy rate is the amount of properties which are unoccupied divided by the total number of properties in a district. It is the opposite of the occupancy rate. High occupancy rates and low vacancy rates are a continual goal of any district, town or city.

Franklin and Williamson County have several large commercial areas which historically perform quite well on this metric. As of the latest Marketbeat Office Snapshot for Q3 2019 (Source: Cushman & Wakefield), the Cool Springs area of Franklin had a Commercial vacancy rate of 16.8%. This was higher than the overall vacancy rate for the metropolitan area (10.1%) for the first time in many years, and did not meet the the City's 30% target (which would be only 3.27% vacancy for the last quarter).

Baseline: Franklin retail and commercial vacancy rate for 3rd Q 2013 was 3.8%. Nashville MSA rate was 9.4%. Target of 30% of Nashville rate is 6.58% (Source: Cassidy Turley Office Market Snapshot, @