BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Although agriculture dominates Nebraska's economic landscape, more and more of Nebraska's income has come from other industries in recent years.
Nebraska manufacturing jobs have been growing in number, though the number for the nation has declined! In May 1997, Nebraska manufacturing jobs had increased 1.3% over a year earlier, reaching an estimated 114,200.
Manufacturing is the state's second-ranked industry, behind agriculture.
Most manufacturing sites are located in the state's most urban areas. The counties that employ the most workers in manufacturing are:
Food processing is the leading type of manufacturing, while durable goods manufacturing is a rapidly expanding industry.
The state's third-ranked industry is tourism, which employs 36,000 workers.
Omaha is a major center for food processing, as well as health care, insurance, trade and transportation. Livestock and grain exchanges are also located in this bustling city.
Early explorers once described Nebraska and the surrounding area as "The Great American Desert." Little did they realize that the state would later become the bread basket for the nation and an important region for manufacturing!
Contribution of the Pioneers
The pioneers who settled Nebraska in the late 1800s deserve much of the credit for transforming the state from a land considered "almost wholly unfit for cultivation" into an agricultural oasis and economic success. Promised free land by the federal government under the 1862 Homestead Act, farmers stubbornly fought economic hardships, droughts and insects.
In later years, scientific farming methods and new industries brought prosperity to the state. Today, Nebraska ranks among the leading states in many agricultural production categories.