NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - In 2019 Nashville's economy was booming. 2020, not so much.

"We had an economy I think other markets would have loved to have had," said councilman Freddie O'Connell who represents Metro district 19.

Then the pandemic happened.

"Our unemployment has crept back up to levels we haven't seen since the great recession," O’Connell said.

He said he's confused as to why Metro's Office of Economic and Community Development seems to have vanished.

The director, Jamari Brown, left in December. Audra Ladd, the small business coordinator left a few weeks ago.

Then, council cut the budget for its contract with the Chamber of Commerce in half.

"Are we still in the business of trying to create jobs for Nashvillians, particularly during a pandemic, and how are we trying to do that," asked O'Connell.

The Mayor's office told News4 the city can't offer companies financial incentives to come to Nashville because of the financial crunch.

However, officials with the Mayor's office said they are still working along with the state and the chamber to recruit.

Recently, they said they've been talking to several companies that are interested in coming to Nashville and they're working to ensure Nashvillians have the training they need to get those jobs when they're created.

"I haven't seen any announcements from the Mayor about, 'hey, look here's a big moment where we have either created or stabilized jobs.' I haven't seen that from the Deputy Mayor. So it's good to hear that they're working on it. I hope that's true, but what I would say is, 'I'd like to see it,'" O’Connell said.

The Mayor’s office also said they are conducting a nationwide search for a new economic and community development director. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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