Manufacturing in Nebraska

Three photos showing different aspects of manufacturing
Manufacturing in nebraska
Nebraska’s manufacturers are clustered around metropolitan areas. The bulk of the state’s population is located in and around the two largest cities—Omaha and the capital city of Lincoln. Based fifty-five miles apart in eastern Nebraska, the seven-county contiguous area comprising the metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) for Omaha and Lincoln has a combined population exceeding 1.1 million, nearly 60% of the total population.

This area represents nearly half of Nebraska’s 2,700+ manufacturers. The five-county Omaha MSA accounts for 34% of the manufacturing base, followed by the two-county Lincoln MSA with 14%.

The next biggest manufacturing hub is located in central Nebraska and encompasses the communities of Grand Island, Hastings, and Kearney (Hall, Adams, and Buffalo counties, respectively). The tri-cities area comprises 10% of total manufacturers statewide.

All five of these manufacturing dense areas are in close proximity to Interstate 80, the main east-west corridor and a growing economic engine for the state. The 455-mile stretch of Interstate 80 crossing Nebraska is the most heavily traveled transcontinental route of the interstate highway system.

High-Density Manufacturing Counties in Nebraska

Nebraska map with counties, manufacturers and points of MEP locations
SOURCE: Number of manufacturers provided by the Nebraska Department of Labor
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Nebraska MEP is headquartered on the University of Nebraska’s flagship campus in Lincoln. University service providers and facilities are split between the Lincoln and Omaha campuses. Additional staff are housed in central Nebraska. 

Central Community College—with campuses in Grand Island, Hastings, and Columbus—services a 25-county region in central Nebraska which includes the manufacturing dense tri-cities. The Central Community College region, combined with the Lincoln and Omaha MSAs, represents 32 of Nebraska’s 93 counties and collectively account for nearly 70% of the state’s manufacturing base. 

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is the lead economic development agency for the state. As the previous cooperative agreement holder with NIST, DED is uniquely positioned to augment Nebraska MEP’s efforts statewide. DED has six field offices across Nebraska in addition to their main office in Lincoln.