14. Rutherford County, TN
Rutherford County, TN
Towns include: La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Smyrna
Job growth (2000-2010): 37.4%

Big business in Rutherford County is turning over a new Leaf -- actually, about 150,000 of them a year. Nissan North America chose its Smyrna complex to build its headline electric vehicle, and is sinking $2 billion into a new plant. Production is scheduled to start next year and is expected to provide 1,300 jobs.

Nissan's growth in Rutherford County is also sparking business for suppliers. Tottser-Iroquois Industries, which makes automotive stampings and assemblies, is opening a plant and bringing in 25 new jobs. A new plant from front-end assembly maker Valeo adds about 60 jobs, and seat component maker NHK Spring is bringing more than 200 jobs with its new facility.

Rutherford County's ambitions do not end with the Leaf, however. A five-year development plan calls for the creation of 5,000 jobs, the addition of 50 new companies, and assistance to help 200 existing businesses expand.

Last updated August 19 2011: 7:00 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Full list: Top 100

These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.