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

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