Nebraska Advantages

Doing business in Nebraska makes sense. You are invited to learn more about how Nebraska can be the right place of business for you.

On this page...
  • Proven Success-Profitable Locations
  • Low Cost of Doing Business
  • Market Access
  • Labor Force
  • Education
  • Communications
  • Taxes/Incentives - Nebraska Advantage!
  • Utilities - Public Power in Nebraska
  • For further information about the many advantages of doing business in Nebraska, please contact us by calling (800) 282-6773, ext. 5534 or emailing Additional contact information can be found under Contact Us. All contacts are confidential.

    Proven Success - Profitable Locations

    Nebraska locations have proven profitable for manufacturing firms - so profitable that companies have more than 2,000 manufacturing facilities in the state. Food processing is the leading type of manufacturing, followed by industrial machinery and fabricated metal products.

    Many firms, including such nationally known companies as Abengoa, ADM, BD, Monsanto, Tyson Foods, and Valmont Industries have more than one plant in Nebraska - a strong testimony to the state's profitable business climate. Non-manufacturing companies such as The Buckle and Cash-Wa Distributing also find Nebraska's environment conducive to growth. Each with recent expansions.

    The renewable energy industry in the United States is growing at a rapid pace and Nebraska is centrally located in the nation's most rapidly emerging wind industry region. Nebraska is now ranked third nationally for wind generation potential and fourth nationally for potential installed wind power capacity! Learn more about Nebraska's Wind Industry Opportunities @

    Nebraska ranks second nationally in ethanol production. The state has 23 operating plants producing more than two billion gallons of ethanol per year. These plants offer a tremendous opportunity for ethanol-related businesses to serve this market.

    Nebraska's reliable, low-cost electricity and telecommunications infrastructure make the state an attractive location for data centers and other technology-based businesses. Several communities have or are developing sites to accommodate technology-based industries.

    Production Worker Wages

    Manufacturing productivity has grown faster in Nebraska than in the U.S. as a whole, reflecting the state's favorable business climate for manufacturing. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Nebraska value added per dollar of production workers' wages in 2008 was 21.9 percent greater than its 2002 level. Manufacturing value added per dollar of production worker's wages in the U.S. grew by 18.2 percent during the 2002-2008 period and, for states surrounding Nebraska as a group, the increase was 17.8 percent.

    In addition to a favorable business environment, Nebraska's record of business success can also be traced to strong support of economic development partners throughout the state. When evaluating a location for your company, it's important to consider a state's record of business success. We can tell you Nebraska is a profitable business location, and we can prove it (see Targeting & Opportunity Studies in this website).

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    Low Cost of Doing Business

    As you know, there are two ways to increase the profitability of a company. The first is to increase revenue... the second is to reduce cost. Nebraska is just the location to help you do that.

    The low cost of doing business in Nebraska is one of the reasons Nebraska consistently ranks among the best business climates in the nation year after year. It's also one of the key reasons Nebraska businesses outperform across the U.S., and why many Fortune 500 companies operate multiple plants in Nebraska.

    Quite simply, things are affordable in Nebraska. Labor, real estate, and utility rates, for example, are less than in most other parts of the country.

    Serving 91 of 93 counties in Nebraska means we have contacts. Our team of professionals can help you find a location - even if its not currently in our searchable database.

    Labor Costs Nebraska features lower-than-average rates for unemployment and workers' compensation insurance, as well as a right-to-work provision in the state constitution. Nebraska's performance-based tax incentives further add to the state's low cost of doing business. Learn more about Nebraska's quality labor force and business incentives on this page.

    Water Costs: Clean water is also abundantly available and affordable in Nebraska, thanks to a huge underground aquifer. The Ogallala Aquifer stretches beneath most of Nebraska and contains an estimated 2.4 billion acre-feet of water.

    Energy Costs: Electric rates are among the nation's lowest. Nebraska offers high-quality reliable electric power and abundant supplies of natural gas and fresh water at costs below the national average. Industrial electrical rates, for example, are approximately 33 percent lower than the national average.

    Nebraska is the only state in the nation served with electricity totally from public power. Nebraska's public utilities have ample electric generating capacity to meet present and future needs. Nebraska has an efficient mix of power produced with water (hydro), low-cost fuels and wind turbines. Learn more about the benefits of public power on this page.

    Want to see just how much your business can save in Nebraska? Read one of our opportunity studies specific to your industry (found under Targeting & Opportunity Studies) or submit a copy of a current electric bill to NPPD's Economic Development Department and rate specialists will compute your electric costs in Nebraska. NPPD also has staff available to assist in a variety of energy related and technical areas specific to your industry.

    Nebraska Public Power District
    Economic Development Department
    PO Box 499
    Columbus, NE 68602-0499
    (800) 282-6773, ext. 5534

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    Market Access
    Nebraska - middle of America

    Look at a map of the United States and you'll immediately notice one of Nebraska's biggest advantages -- location!

    Nebraska's central location along key transportation routes provides unmatched speed to all major markets regardless of direction. Within one day, goods shipped by truck reach 26 percent of the U.S. population; add a second day and the percentage skyrockets to 91 percent. The state's central location within the Mid-Continent NAFTA Trade Corridor makes it an ideal location for companies that rely on trade with Canada and Mexico.

    Nebraska's transportation routes are congestion-free, allowing for more efficient and timely delivery, unloading and loading of freight, no matter what the mode transportation - highway, rail, air, or barge. Significant cost advantages can be realized with a Nebraska distribution point.

    Nebraska Legal Trucking Map Highways: Nebraska is a natural hub for freight shipping. Interstate 80 traverses the state, linking to both the East and West Coasts. North-south Interstate 29 passes along Nebraska's eastern border and Interstate 25 is in close proximity to the state's western border. Seven national highways run north-south across the state. There are 23,652 total miles of hard-surfaced roads within the state's borders.

    Rail: The nation's two largest rail companies -- BNSF Railway Company and Union Pacific -- provide rail service to many Nebraska communities. Ten freight railroads operate more than 3,200 miles of track throughout the state. No major city in the United States is more than 5 days by rail from Nebraska. Amtrak provides passenger service in Nebraska with stops in five communities.

    Nebraska Scheduled Air Service Map Air: Commercial airline service is available in nine Nebraska cities, providing direct service to major hubs. Scheduled airfreight service is provided to five additional communities with on-demand service available. A total of 81 public-use airports are located throughout the state.

    Water: The Missouri River, on Nebraska's eastern border, provides a water link to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean via the Mississippi River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a 9-foot deep, 300-foot wide channel for 735 navigable miles from Sioux City to the mouth of the Missouri River near St. Louis. The free-flowing river with no locks or dams is navigable approximately eight months of the year.

    Time Zone: Nebraska's location also provides a time zone advantage to companies with national customer service requirements. Approximately two-thirds of the state rests in the Central time zone (the other third is in the Mountain time zone).

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    Labor Force
    Nonfarm Wage and Salary Employment

    Labor in Nebraska is productive, dependable, and available. Greater labor stability, reduced turnover, lower absenteeism, fewer work stoppages, happier employees, and higher individual productivity are characteristics of the excellent labor force in Nebraska.

    Productivity: Contributing to the high labor productivity in Nebraska are very low absenteeism and labor turnover rates. These traits, combined with mechanically adept and readily trainable workers, directly translate into industry profitability.

    Nebraska Manufacturing Employement

    Education: Nebraska's well-educated work force is the state's most attractive resource. Nebraska high school students consistently achieve among the best average scores in the nation for the ACT (American College Testing) exam. However, high school is just the beginning of the education and technical training of Nebraska workers. Significant opportunities for continuing education exist within the state's system of public and private community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities.

    The Nebraska Department of Labor, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and Department of Education work together to provide recruitment and training resources. Read more about education in Nebraska on this page.

    Positive Labor Climate: Nebraska's positive labor climate is supported by competitive wage rates and unemployment and workers' compensation rates as well as high value per dollar of production payroll. Further enhancement of the labor climate is derived from a long-established climate of favorable management/labor relations and a right-to-work provision in the Nebraska Constitution.

    Labor Costs: Nebraska has lower than average unemployment, workers' compensation insurance, and wage rates. Nebraska's positive labor climate and low turnover rates contribute to unemployment insurance costs which are among the nation's lowest. Unemployment insurance costs in Nebraska are significantly lower than the national average!

    For further information specific to labor and energy costs per production worker in a variety of industries, read one of our Opportunity Studies under Targeting & Opportunity Studies in this website.

    Average Annual Unemployment Insurance Contribution Comparative Workers' Compensation Rates Average Hourly Earnings for Production Workers
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    The quality of education in the "Heartland of America" is an important factor contributing to the well educated work force in Nebraska.

    Nebraska has one of the lowest pupil-to-teacher ratios (13.3) and one of the highest graduation rates in the nation (89.9%). In 2008-2009, 72 percent of Nebraska's high school seniors took the ACT exam. Nebraska's average score of 22.1 continues to rank first among those states with 70 percent or more graduates taking the exam. Nebraska supports school mentoring and school-to-career initiatives, giving students first-hand experience with many occupations while still in school.

    Significant opportunities for continuing education exist within the state colleges and universities as well as the statewide community college system. The colleges offer a full curricula of occupational courses and provide a steady flow of graduates to Nebraska industries. In addition, customzied training programs are offered to companies on site and/or on campus. The University of Nebraska works with local, regional, and international businesses to connect industry with university resources.

    With the industrial sector becoming more aware of the significant benefits associated with the presence of quality institutions of higher education, Nebraska's postsecondary educational institutions represent an important asset for new and expanding businesses. The colleges offer a full curricula of occupational courses and provide a steady flow of graduates to Nebraska industries. In addition, customized training programs are offered to companies on site and/or on campus.

    The University of Nebraska system, with campuses in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney, is a major center for both basic and applied research. A statewide community college system provides specialized training programs for new and expanding Nebraska industries.

    Higher Education in Nebraska

    Links to Colleges & Universities in Nebraska:

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    Taxes/Incentives - Nebraska Advantage!

    The Nebraska State Government is financed by an individual income tax, corporate income tax, 5.5 percent sales and use tax, corporate occupation tax, and selective excise taxes (liquor, tobacco, motor fuels, etc.). Local governments are financed primarily by property taxes, although some cities and counties collect a local option sales tax. In cities with major retail centers, the city sales tax returned to the municipality is about the same or higher than the amount of property tax levied. Local governments received approximately $1.552 billion in state support in 2008-09 compared to $2.723 billion in tangible property taxes levied for 2008.

    Property taxes are levied against real and personal property by local political subdivisions such as counties, school districts, cities, fire districts, etc., to provide for local services. All real property except agricultural land is assessed at market value. Agricultural land is accessed at 75 percent of market value. Personal property is assessed at net book value. Tax rates are expressed in dollars and cents for each $100 of actual value.

    Market value is determined by each county assessor through professionally accepted mass appraisal methods, which include, but are not limited to:

    • Comparison with sales of real property of known or recognized value, taking into account location, zoning, current functional use, and other statutory guidelines ("sales comparison approach")
    • Earning capacity of the real property ("income approach")
    • Cost less depreciation ("cost approach")

    Highlights of the Nebraska tax structure:

    • Nebraska assesses income tax based upon the amount of federal taxable income
    • No state property tax
    • No inventory tax
    • No personal property tax on intangibles
    • No sales tax on raw materials when used as ingredients or component parts in manufacturing operations
    • No sales tax on sales of energy for processing or manufacturing purposes
    • No sales tax on water used exclusively in manufacturing and processing
    • No sales tax on qualified agricultural machinery and equipment
    • No sales tax on manufacturing machinery, equipment, and related services
    • Sales and use tax refunds are available on qualifying air and water pollution control equipment
    • Sales and use tax refunds are available on property qualifying for certain investment incentives

    Tax Incentives

    Nebraska Advantage In 1987, the Nebraska Legislature passed its first performance-based tax incentive legislation demonstrating Nebraska's commitment to creating a favorable business climate. The incentives have had an enormous effect in stimulating business investment, industry expansion, and job creation. Through separate acts - the Nebraska Advantage Act, the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act, and the Nebraska Super Advantage Act - incentives have and continue to be offered to both large and small businesses investing in Nebraska.

    The Nebraska Advantage package benefits businesses with:

    • Investment credits
    • Wage credits
    • Sales tax refund
    • Customized job training
    • State and local sales tax exemptions for purchases of manufacturing machinery, equipment, and related services
    • Research and development tax credits
    • Microenterprise tax credits
    • Inventory tax exemptions

    A list of qualifieid businesses for each tier can be found at Some qualified businesses include research and development, scientific testing, data processing, manufacturing, telecommunications, insurance, financial services, distribution, storage/warehousing, transportation, headquarters (administrative), and targeted export services (75% of sales outside Nebraska or to the U.S. Government).

    Additional advantages in the Nebraska Advantage economic development package include:

      Nebraska Customized Job Training Advantage - Provides a flexible and discretionary job training program with grants from $800 to $4,000 per qualifieid new job. Additional grant funds may be available for new jobs created in rural and high poverty areas. You can design your own training or a statewide training team can assist with training needs and assessments, training plans, curriculum development, and training instruction.

      Nebraska Research and Development Advantage - Offers a refundable tax credit for qualified research and development activities undertaken by a business entity. The credit is equal to 15 percent of the federal credit allowed under Section 41 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for research and development. The credit is increased to 35 percent of the federal credit allowed under Section 41 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 if the business firm makes expenditures on the campus of a college or university in Nebraska.

      Nebraska Microenterprise Tax Credit Advantage - Provides a 20 percent refundable tax credit to micro businesses on increased compensation for employees or increased investment in targeted communities. Applicants may qualify for a maximum $10,000 throughout the life of the program. The credit is limited to companies with five or fewer employees, including start-ups. Credits are approved on a first-in-first-out basis through an application process with the Nebraska Department of Revenue. The credits are earned on increased expenditure for wages, buildings, certain expenses, and non-vehicle depreciable personal property.

    Visit for further information.

    Put Our Team To Work For You! NPPD's Economic Development Consultants can assist you in understanding the benefits of these programs and guide you through the application process. In addition to these benefits, many communities have local economic development programs, which may be applicable to your project.

    If you would like more information on the advantages of living and working in Nebraska, contact us by calling (800) 282-6773 or emailing Additional contact information can be found on this website under Contact Us. All contacts are confidential.

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    Nebraska, the first state to be served totally by digital switching, continues to be served by one of the nation's most advanced telecommunications networks.

    Nebraska is rich in dark and lit fiber. Nebraska has many facility-based InterExchange Carriers with fiber routes traversing the state - each with multiple Points of Presence (POP) for access to their networks.

    Most of Nebraska's communities are served by multiple broadband Internet service providers. DSL broadband access is available in all telephone exchanges with many communities having additional services from cable and fixed wireless providers. Private line broadband access is available anywhere in the state.

    Nebraska's vast fiber optic network allows the majority of Nebraska's high schools to connect to full motion, full presence, video Distance Learning (education) Networks. These same networks connect the school districts to the community college, state college, and the University of Nebraska systems.

    All of Nebraska's not-for-profit and public hospitals, public health departments, and bio-terrorism labs are connected to a private, secure, digital telehealth backbone (the Nebraska Telehealth Network).

    Nebraska is served by 17 daily and more than 175 weekly or semiweekly newspapers along with approximately 120 radio stations and 13 television stations. These figures do not include college newspapers and private radio and television stations.

    NewsLink - Newspapers of the World
    USNPL Nebraska Newspaper Listing
    50 - Nebraska
    World - Nebraska
    Online Newspapers - Nebraska

    Radio Stations:
    Newslink - Radio
    On The Radio - Nebraska
    SHG Resources - Nebraska
    Official USA Stations - Nebraska

    Newslink - Television
    USNPL Nebraska Television Listing
    Official USA TV - Nebraska

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    Utilities - Public Power in Nebraska

    Electric Costs for Industrial Service Map

    Energy costs are often a considerable part of any business's operational budget. These costs can vary greatly between states, but in Nebraska (the only state in the nation where all electric utilities are publicly owned) electric costs are passed to consumers at low cost-of-service rates. As a result, the state claims industrial rates well below the national average. Nebraska electric utilities are able to offer low rates, in part, because they draw from a balanced and efficient "mix" of generation resources. This mix includes coal, natural gas, oil, diesel, and methane along with carbon-free generation like nuclear, wind power, and hydropower.

    Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is the state's largest electric generating utility with a chartered service territory that includes 91 of Nebraska's 93 counties. NPPD relies upon nine major generating facilities, more than 5,000 miles of high-voltage power lines, approximately 260 substations, and thousands more miles of distribution lines. Because the system is interconnected to electrical grids in other states, NPPD works with regional utilities and industry entities to ensure power is delivered safely and dependably to Nebraskans.

    NPPD is the state's leader in generating electricity with renewable resources. NPPD owns and operates three hydropower facilities and a 36-turbine, 60-megawatt wind energy facility. NPPD has invested millions in the state's development of wind power during the past 13 years. Knowing that it would be more economical for ratepayers, NPPD recently signed 20-year, multi-million-dollar agreements with private wind developers to purchase power generated from community-based, wind-powered generation facilities. In addition, NPPD continues to explore other opportunities to add more wind power to its generation portfolio in the next 10 years.

    With a proven not-for-profit power system, strong infrastructure, a commitment to renewable energy, and a plan for meeting customer's needs well into the future, Nebraska's public power utilities help make Nebraska an excellent location for industries.

    Natural gas in Nebraska is also attractive to industry for service, supply, and price. A gas-producing state, Nebraska is close and well-connected by pipeline to the major gas fields of the central and southern plains. The state's average cost of industrial gas is less than both the regional and national averages.

    The pipelines of two major companies, Northern Natural Gas and Kinder Morgan, provide an ample supply of natural gas to most areas of Nebraska. Depending on usage requirements, natural gas is offered both on a "firm" and "interruptible" basis.

    Nebraska's public power utilities assist the state in attracting new companies and help existing businesses grow through economic development activities, affordable energy rates, and high quality service. Utility personnel provide guidance to help customers reduce energy costs by using energy wisely and providing information on energy-related resources available within their communities.

    Nebraska's diverse generation mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydro, wind and methane provide a stable and consistent supply of electricity. The state's utilities collectively plan for future generation needs and partner with one another in the construction of new facilities.

    Learn more about public power today...

    web link It's Your Power - website


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