Economic Strength

Economic Strength


Any state’s economic strength is reflected in its economic diversity, entrepreneurial ecosystem and growth. These indicators play an important role in helping states withstand economic downturns, and can often be a predictor of future success. All measures and indicators below are based on the three-year average of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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Economic Diversity


Nebraska’s diverse economy helps us weather economic downturns, making our state less likely to suffer from periodic boom and bust cycles. While agriculture may be our backbone, Nebraska is home to some of the world’s most successful companies, in industries spanning from information technology to finance, biotech and transportation/logistics.

Industry Diversity Index

An index comparing the specialization of industries between states (calculated using the Shannon-Weaver index). Values are relative to the U.S. and range from 2.4622 to 2.6609.


  • 2.590 is Nebraska’s Industry Diversity index value
  • 3.460 is the United States’ Industry Diversity index value

Knowledge Jobs

Knowledge Jobs are high-skill, high-wage jobs in which workers can maintain and develop their skills over time.

Knowledge jobs include the following occupations: Business and Financial Operations; Computer and Mathematical; Architecture and Engineering; Life, Physical, and Social Science; Healthcare Practitioners; and Technical.

  • 16.4% of jobs in Nebraska are “Knowledge Jobs”
  • 16.8% of jobs in the United States are “Knowledge Jobs”

“You can do it all here. Nebraska is the perfect mix of good hard-working people, interesting places and a diverse range of things to do. Nebraska’s quality of life is a catalyst for growing opportunities. There is so much momentum right now.

People are talking about the state’s visibility, our room to grow, our central location in the country. One thing about other states is that they are verbose about how awesome they are. Nebraskans are more modest, but over the past five to 10 years, a paradigm shift has started to happen. It’s been like a steam train.”

Joey Knecht

CEO, Proteus

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Nebraska entrepreneurs embrace the pioneer spirit of the plains by creating successful startups and generating rewarding new jobs. These innovative businesses help make our economy more dynamic, and increase our growth potential.

Income Per Entrepreneur

The average income per entrepreneur.*

  • $41,868 is the average income per entrepreneur in Nebraska
  • $33,734 is the average income per entrepreneur in the United States

*An entrepreneur is defined as a sole proprietor: any entity that is required to file schedule C on IRS form 1040 or an unincorporated business that has just one owner who pays personal income tax on profits earned by a business.

Entrepreneur Density

The number of entrepreneurs (sole proprietors) per 1,000 people.

  • 146.3 entrepreneurs per 1,000 people in the state of Nebraska
  • 138.2 entrepreneurs per 1,000 people in the United States

Startup Density

The average number of startups per 1,000 businesses.

  • 46.4 startups per 1,000 businesses in Nebraska
  • 45.1 startups per 1,000 businesses in the United States

Startup Job Growth

Startup growth measures the average net change in jobs at a startup company.

  • 46.7% increase in number of jobs for startup companies in Nebraska between 2016-2018
  • 148.2% increase in number of jobs for a startup company in the United States between 2016-2018

“I feel privileged to do business in Nebraska; to be a part of the heartland technology renaissance that is underway. This is the third successful startup for us in Nebraska, and we have been driven by the ideal combination of talent, education, community support and access to capital. This new environment is creating a great foundation for accelerating that drive for small business innovation, the core strength of American business in general.

I particularly enjoy all the young people coming to Nebraska to ‘eHomestead.’ That is, bringing their families, their skills and ambitions to a place that is poised for a technology and innovation rebirth. As we continue to bond our public-sector and large company strengths with the critical investments in training and mentoring, these synergies will continue to multiply. Particularly as we see key programs like Invest Nebraska, Nebraska Tech Collaborative and DED Prototype programs. This is real stuff, creating new ventures that bring fresh revenue to our state.

Trust me, there is no sweeter homeland for technology pioneers and new age business prospectors. There is no place like Nebraska.”

Manny Quevedo

President & CEO, OpsCompass, Inc.

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Economic growth and the speed of that growth are important indicators of general economic health. Historically, Nebraska’s economy has experienced steady growth, and was less severely impacted by the Great Recession of the 2000’s. Compared to states that were hit hard by the recession and showed quick growth during the return to normal, Nebraska’s economy was stable throughout, experiencing typical growth. Recently, Nebraska has been making important gains in personal income and job growth.

Real Income Per Capita

The average real personal income per person.*

  • $53,782 average real personal income in Nebraska
  • $48,140 average real personal income in the United States

*Real Personal income is adjusted for cost-of-living and inflation.

Real Income Growth

Real income growth is the three-year average change in real personal income.*

  • 1.3 % increase in real personal income in Nebraska
  • 3.0 % increase in real personal income in the United States

*Real personal income is adjusted for cost-of-living and inflation.

GDP Growth

The three-year average change in goods and services (Gross Domestic Product) produced by an economy.

  • 2.4% increase in GDP in Nebraska from 2016-2018
  • 4.1% increase in GDP in the United States from 2016-2018

Job Growth

The three-year average change in jobs.

  • 0.5% increase in number of jobs in Nebraska from 2016-2018
  • 1.5% increase in number of jobs in the United States from 2016-2018

Workforce Vitality

Click below to find out how Nebraska ranks nationally in productivity, and to get some background on how we’re improving our rankings every year!


Want to learn how we’ve conducted our research? Click below!