2020 Barometer

See how Omaha ranks against nine other cities

Companies, tiny to titan, flourish here

This is where you’ll find the numbers behind Greater Omaha’s success. All the data you need is here in monthly and annual reports that provide insights on our local economy and business climate. The numbers speak for themselves – our steady economic growth makes Omaha one of the most favorable cities in the nation for your business.

What’s inside The 2020 Barometer?

The 2020 Barometer compares Greater Omaha with nine other metros to provide economic performance insights, such as:

  • Cost of doing business: Greater Omaha consistently posts lower business costs.
  • Infrastructure: A large, local transportation and logistics industry keeps supply chains connected. 
  • Cost of living: People get more for much less; Greater Omaha’s cost of living is 8% below the national average.
  • And more data covering economic growth, human capital, innovation, entrepreneurship, private capital.

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Business Environment

From our strong business climate, to our first-class resources, we’re proud to cultivate an environment ideally suited for companies wishing to start, grow or expand operations.

A Diverse Mix of Industries

Our steady economic growth is the envy of the nation.

Greater Omaha produces more than $50 billion in goods and services each year.

  • Outpaced the nation in economic growth for the past 6 years in:
    • Finance & Insurance: Increased 26.2% vs 7.1%
    • Transportation & Warehousing: 29.6% vs 19.0%
    • Health Care & Social Assistance: Increase 17.1% vs 16.2%
  • Our Information industry is booming with a 33% increase over the last five years9

We work hard to keep the business climate friendly and taxes moderate.

Our cost of doing business is 12 percent below the national average. 10

2020 Greater Omaha Major Employers



Fortune Thrives Here

We’re proud of the fact that some of the world’s most recognizable companies are based here. We’re even more proud of the impact they’re having around the nation – and the globe.


A Key Transportation Hub

We’re served by a ring of interstate highways, railroads, motor freight, air and river transportation.

Reach your destination in 2-3 days with easy access to I-80 and I-29.

  • Major Rail Centers
    • Burlington Northern Santa Fe
    • Canadian National Railway Company
    • Union Pacific Railroad

33 direct flights including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. 18

Barge traffic can navigate the Missouri River 10 months of the year.

Cost of Living 

With a cost of living 8.1% below the national average, we’re proud to call the Omaha area home. 12


Power considerations are a given as companies – from data centers to manufacturers – decide where to make their home. That scores in our favor.

Without compromising quality, service or availability, businesses and residents benefit significantly from utility

Electricity 11

Compared to the national average, Nebraska-Iowa rates:

  • Commercial: 21.5% below
  • Industrial: 13.8% above

Workforce & Talent

Savvy, Sophisticated Talent.

If you’re ready to ignite your career – if you’re determined to make a mark instead of just making due – you’ll find a place. Here, we embrace entrepreneurs, cultivate innovation and let imagination run free.

Job Growth

We’ve added almost 45,000 jobs 5 – twice as much as the national average 6 over the past 10 years. Our population not only possesses the education and qualities employers are looking for, but also encompasses the Midwest work ethic simply part of the fabric of our region.


Our region and people excel at exceeding expectations.


Our population of 986,007 is characterized by steady growth. We’ve expanded 9 percent between 2010 and 2019, growing 3 percent more than the nation. 1


With a diverse cultural makeup, ethnic minorities comprise 13.6% of our population including a Hispanic populace of 10.3%. 2


Our reputation as a vibrant, growing community attracts young and talented workers ready to ignite their career.

  • More than 35 percent of our population is 24 years of age or younger.
  • Median Age: 35.6 3


Our low cost of living and competitive wages create a spending power of $56,718 –  15.8% above nation’s ($48,980). 4


A world of opportunity awaits.

We are home to award-winning schools and nationally-recognized universities. Innovation and experience work in collaboration, improving education for students of all ages. To them we say: Study hard, engage your brain, dream big and go for it – no coasting allowed.


K-12 Education

Study hard. Engage your brain. Dream big.

Parents want quality choices for education – and we pass the test.

We consistently rank among the leading states in the nation for percentage of high school graduates, which means employers here have the benefit of drawing from a very well-educated workforce.

We know today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators. That’s why our schools – both established and new – focus on equipping our youth with the skills they need to join an evolving workplace.

What’s your child’s passion – and if we nurture it, where will it lead? We’re as eager as you are to find out.

Higher Education

From business and education to science, medicine, technology and the liberal arts, we are home to some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities. We are also home to two internationally recognized medical schools: the University of Nebraska Medical Center and CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center. And they are all within easy access.

Greater Omaha Higher Education Enrollment 10

Institution Enrollment Location
Bellevue University 9,621 Bellevue
Capitol School of Hairstyling and Esthetics 107 Omaha
CHI Health School of Radiologic Technology 15 Omaha
Clarkson College 1,162 Omaha
College of Saint Mary 1,168 Omaha
The Creative Center 39 Omaha
Creighton University 8,910 Omaha
Iowa Western Community College 6,023 Council Bluffs
La’James International College 8 Fremont
Metropolitan Community College Omaha/Fremont 14,913 Omaha
Midland University 1,873 Fremont
National American University 68 Bellevue
Nebraska Christian College 134 Papillion
NE Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health 1,102 Omaha
Universal College of Healing Arts 35 Omaha
University of Nebraska at Omaha 15,431 Omaha
University of Nebraska Medical Center 3,972 Omaha
Xenon International Academy 191 Omaha
Total 64,772


  1. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019”
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, “Table DP05: Demographic and Housing Estimates”
  3. U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, “Table S0101: Age and Sex”.
  4. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Real per capita personal income (Chained (2012) dollars)”
  5. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  6. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey
  7. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real GDP Per Capita (by metropolitan area)
  8. U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, “Table B15001: Sex by Age by Educational Attainment for the Population 18 Years and Over”
  9. Eric Thompson, UNL, 2020 Barometer
  10. Nebraska Coordination Commission for Postsecondary Education and Iowa College Aid, Fall 2018
  11. S. Energy Administration, 2018 Retail Price of Electricity
  12. Council for Community and Economic Research, 2019 Annual Average
  13. Omaha Airport Authority