Greater Omaha Executive Summary


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Greater Omaha Executive Summary

  1. 1. E X E C U T I V E S U M M A R Y
  2. 2. “Most favorable tax structure for business” KPMG International Third among the “Top 10 Best Cities” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Among seven cities worldwide “Economic Development Success Stories” The Wall Street Journal Ranked 10th “Best States for Business” Forbes First on the list of mid-size “Best Cities for Relocating Families” Primacy Relocation & Worldwide ERC
  3. 3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Greater Omaha is at the center of the nation, business and technology. It’s a city on the move with first-class resources, a strong business climate and a quality of life making it hard to match as an excellent choice for locating a business. Greater Omaha’s central location in the heartland of the United States has been an important factor in building its strong economy. Located on the western banks of the Missouri River, the area has been an important agricultural and transportation center since its establishment in the late 1850s. In its earliest history, Omaha was a trading center and the “Gateway to the West.” From these roots, it has steadily grown and is now the 42nd largest city and the 60th largest metro area in the nation. Greater Omaha’s current population is more than 828,000 within an eight-county metropolitan area and more than 1.2 million within a 60-minute drive. Greater Omaha and the state of Nebraska place priority on a strong business climate. The strength of the climate is reflected in the numerous high rankings the area has been given over the past several years. Most recently, Forbes magazine ranked Greater Omaha eighth among the “Best Cities for Jobs” while Business Facilities magazine ranked Omaha 15th in the “Top 20 Cities with the Most Educated Workforce.” In addition, rated Nebraska fourth among the “Best States for Jobs.” While rankings provide an important gauge, another excellent reflection of business climate is development. During the past decade, Omaha’s central business district has benefited from more than $2 billion in development. The public-private partnerships in the area have been a key factor in these developments and across the metro area. This type of high-quality environment guarantees a rewarding lifestyle for natives and newcomers alike. Independent studies by urban researchers also frequently rank Greater Omaha high among metros of its size and larger. According to a study by The Media Audit, Omaha ranked second among the “Best Concert Markets” and was eighth for “Best Places to Live for Affordable Housing” according to In addition, placed Omaha among its “Top 20 Best Places to Raise a Family.” The state of Nebraska is also consistently among the best in the nation and was ranked number four in the “Top 10 States for Quality of Life” by Business Facilities magazine. What cannot be quantified, however, is the friendly attitude and ethic of hard work which gives Greater Omaha that extra edge. The ninth “Best City for Data Centers” The Boyd Co. / InformationWeek Eleventh among mid-sized metros for the “Best Public Schools” Business Facilities
  4. 4. B U S I N E S S C L I M A T E Nebraska has a pro-business tax climate. Through the use of targeted business tax incentives and exemptions and relatively low tax rates, Nebraska has fostered a tax structure that is equitable to both businesses and individuals.The state’s solid financial position is guaranteed by a state constitution that prohibits deficit financing. At a time when many cities are in financial trouble, Omaha can boast of a AAA credit rating, one of only a few cities to earn this rating from Standard & Poor’s. Several performance-based incentives allow firms to earn a series of tax credits, refunds and exemptions for investment and new job creation in Nebraska. Municipal governments also provide incentives to stimulate the business climate. There are more than 33,000 businesses located in Greater Omaha. While being the headquarters location for four Fortune 500 companies, approximately 35 other Fortune 500 companies have manufacturing plants or service centers in the metro area. Greater Omaha’s economy benefits from solid population and labor-force growth with a relatively diverse industry mix. Greater Omaha has a history of strong business- government partnerships in area development projects. In the past decade, this cooperative redevelopment has resulted in more than $11 billion in new investment metro-wide with $2 billion in downtown alone. L abor M ar k et Greater Omaha’s employment base is well diversified and reflects the city’s status as a regional service and trade center. The availability of labor in Greater Omaha is enhanced by an excellent highway transportation network, supporting approximately 664,000 people employed within a 60-minute drive. The quality of Greater Omaha’s workforce is also enhanced by exceptional educational attainment. More than 92.4 percent of adults 25 years or older have graduated from high school compared to 85.5 percent nationally. Greater Omaha also has a higher percentage of graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher with 34.9 percent versus 28.2 percent nationally. Nebraska workers are also well known for their work ethic and productivity. Compared to the national average, Nebraska workers produce eight percent more goods for every dollar of wages paid. Although the quality of labor is high in the Greater Omaha metro, it’s cost is not correspondingly high. The area boasts of competitive wage rates and some of the lowest labor insurance rates in the nation. Greater Omaha’s TOP 25 Largest Employers 1. Offutt Air Force Base ...................12,000  2. The Nebraska Medical Center ...... 8,350 (including UNMC) 3. Omaha Public Schools ..................7,000  4. Alegent Health ...............................6,750  5. Methodist Health System.............. 6,200  6. First Data .......................................5,300  7. First National Bank ........................4,650  8. Union Pacific Corporation............. 4,500  9. ConAgra Foods, Inc. .....................3,300  10. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company ..................3,250  11. PayPal ..........................................3,000  12. University Of Nebraska Omaha .. 3,000  13. Oriental Trading Co., Inc. ............ 3,000  14. Creighton University ....................2,900  15. Millard Public Schools .................2,760  16. Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc......... 2,500  17. City of Omaha ..............................2,400  18. West Corporation ........................2,400  19. Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) .......................................2,360  20. Douglas County ...........................2,300  21. Tyson Foods, Inc. ........................2,200  22. U.S. Postal Service - Omaha ...... 2,200  23. Omaha World-Herald ..................2,000  24. Omaha Steaks .............................1,800  25. Qwest ...........................................1,800  Among the Top 25 Cities for “Best Educated Workforce” Business Facilities Source: Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Top 25 Largest Employer List, 2008
  5. 5. T r a n s po r t a t i o n Greater Omaha is a transportation hub. The city is strategically located at the intersection of U.S. Interstate Highways 29 and 80. Additionally, four U.S. and eight state highways converge in the area. Approximately 90 interstate and intrastate motor freight carriers offer Omaha businesses direct access to national markets. Omaha is also one of the largest rail centers in the nation, served by three Class One railroads. Union Pacific, the country’s largest railroad, is also headquartered in Omaha. Shipments by rail or motor carriers can reach major markets in the continental U.S. within five days. Eight national and 12 regional airlines provide more than 200 flights daily at Eppley Airfield, Omaha’s major regional terminal, located five minutes from downtown and 15 to 30 minutes from most areas of the metro. A ring of interstate highways and well-maintained arteries facilitate driving within the metro area. Greater Omaha’s average one-way commute is less than 20 minutes. Metropolitan Area Transit (MAT) also provides bus transportation to over 12 million passengers annually. C O M M U N I C A T I O N s Other cities may claim state-of-the-art communications capabilities, but none provide a better infrastructure than Greater Omaha. World-renowned for its massive, sophisticated and carefully planned telecommunications infrastructure, Greater Omaha was one of the first cities in the U.S. to develop a comprehensive nationwide fiber optic network. As such, Greater Omaha has developed a thriving information technology sector, attracting companies with skilled, high-tech workforces. Greater Omaha’s communications capabilities resemble that of a much larger city due to the high call volume generated by the communication- and information-intensive companies located in the area. Digital central offices serve 100 percent of Omaha businesses. This advanced information hub continually welcomes new business. Internet search giants Yahoo and Google have each selected the Greater Omaha area as the site for their new data centers. Newly hired personnel will join thousands of skilled workers employed by information- intensive organizations and data centers including credit card processing organizations, telemarketing operation centers and customer service and reservation centers. U T I L I T I E s Nebraska is the only public power state in the nation. All electrical utilities are nonprofit and customer owned, assuring rates that are extremely competitive with other areas of the country. The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) is a charter member of the Midwest Area Power Pool, a regional load-sharing grid established to insure adequate supplies of electricity to member utilities. With reserve generating capacity of nearly 15 percent, Greater Omaha has room to grow. And, with proximity to western low-sulfur coal, Omaha’s energy needs are assured for years to come. Greater Omaha is served by two gas utilities providing competitive rates. Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) is a publicly-owned, nonprofit utility. Black Hills Energy serves customers in nine states while providing gas service to Greater Omaha’s suburbs. Northern Natural Gas Company, the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline company, is also headquartered in Greater Omaha, and provides three major natural gas lines to the area. Among the Top 25 “Most Intelligent Cities” Men’s Health Third among “Best Cities to Build Personal Wealth” Fourth “Top 10 States Quality of Life” Business Facilities Sixth “Healthiest State” Morgan Quitno
  6. 6. C O S T O F L I V I N G There is so much to see, do and enjoy in Greater Omaha, and it’s all at a cost 10 to 12 percent below the national average, according to a recent pricing survey of 300 U.S. cities. According to the Milken Institute’s Cost-of-Doing- Business Index, Nebraska has the fourth-lowest cost-of-doing- business. HousinginGreaterOmahaisalsoreasonablypricedcompared to other areas of the country. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, ACCRA Cost of Living Index, Greater Omaha’s average home price was $218,588 in 2008. The average for the United States during the same period was 28.3 percent higher. The average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment was $641 per month. Q U A L I T Y O F L I F E Greater Omaha is large enough to offer a variety of cosmopolitan attractions, yet small enough to provide a relaxed lifestyle envied by many urban dwellers. The strength of the lifestyle is reflected in the numerous high rankings the area has received from the national media. Greater Omaha’s quality of living and level of community services have contributed significantly to the attraction of new business and industry. In addition to diverse recreational and cultural opportunities, Omaha has a strong infrastructure to support day-to-day living and one that is critical to future growth. Greater Omaha has always offered a wide variety of recreation and entertainment opportunities, but has taken a major leap forward with the completion of Qwest Center Omaha. The $291 million facility recently expanded to up to 18,300 seats in the arena and has more than 240,000 square feet of convention space. Qwest Center Omaha is ranked ninth in the U.S. and 20th worldwide for ticket sales, hosting four of the top five tours in the world last year alone. OneofGreaterOmaha’smost popular tourist attractions is the Old Market. It is home to numerous specialty clothing shops, gourmet coffee shops, restaurants, taverns, galleries, nightclubs and bakeries. In recent years, the Old Market has also become a popular place to live with several historic buildings transformed into trendy loft apartments or condos adding to the vitality of the area. 3M AFLAC American Express Baxter International Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. The Boeing Company BNSF Railway Company Coca-Cola ConAgra Foods, Inc. Cox Communications, Inc. Crown Holdings, Inc. The Dow Chemical Company First Data General Dynamics International Paper IBM Lincoln Financial Group Kellogg Company L-3 Communications Corporation LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. Level 3 Communications, Inc. Marriott International, Inc. Nash Finch Company Northrop Grumman Corporation Pacific Life Insurance Company PepsiCo, Inc. Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc. Pitney Bowes Inc. Qwest Raytheon Company Sara Lee Corporation Schering-Plough Science Applications International Corporation Tyson Foods, Inc. Union Pacific Corporation UnitedHealth Group United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) Weyerhaeuser Company F o r t u n e 5 0 0 F i r m s w i t h O p e r a t i o n s i n O m a h a Omaha-based headquarters are in red.
  7. 7. Omaha spectator sports are also available year-round to local sports fans. Families savor their summer nights cheering on the Omaha Royals minor league baseball team. The Omaha Royals have served as the only Triple-A baseball team for the Kansas City Royals, since their inception in 1969. The metro is also home to the U.S. Hockey League Omaha Lancers. Additionally, a number of collegiate teams provide area sports fans something to cheer about throughout the year. Thousands of local and visiting fans attend the NCAA College World Series held each June in Omaha. Omaha hosted the 2008 Olympic Swim Trials and the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament. In 2013, Omaha will host the USGA’s Senior Open. Greater Omaha offers a variety of activities for all seasons including golf, softball, hunting, skiing, horseback riding and hiking. Within the metropolitan area are lakes suitable for boating, sailing, fishing and a number of other activities; more than 45 golf courses; over 1,700 softball teams to join; as well as a variety of other sports opportunities. AsGreaterOmaha’sdowntownresurgencepushesforward, nearly $100 million of private funds have been raised to build the Holland Performing Arts Center, a world-class facility with 2,000 seats in the main concert hall and 400 seats in the recital hall. The facility has enhanced cultural programs, which already resemble those of a much larger city, including a professional Symphony Orchestra and Opera. Greater Omahaalsohasaveryactivetheatricalcommunitywithover 15 theater organizations, including the Omaha Community Playhouse, the largest community theater in the country, and the Omaha Theater Company for Young People. A variety of museums and galleries are located in the metro area, the largest of which is the Joslyn Art Museum. Among its treasures is an extensive collection of Western paintings and sculptures. The Durham Museum houses artifacts linking Omaha with its pioneer past and the Byron Reed Collection — an extraordinary array of rare coins, medals and manuscripts. Both museums have national partnerships with The Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress. E D U C A T I O N Greater Omaha is served by several excellent public and private school systems. There are more than 137,700 children (86 percent of all students) in metro area public schools. There are three public school districts within the Omaha city limits. Enrollment in private school systems totals more than 21,000. Greater Omaha offers 14 colleges and universities including The Peter Kiewit Institute of Information Science, Technology and Engineering and the Joe Ricketts Center for Electronic Commerce and Database Marketing.Thecombinedstudent enrollment is more than 53,000. There are approximately 10,000 graduates each year from these institutions, which range from private colleges with enrollments of 600 students to the University of Nebraska at Omaha with over 14,000 students. Two major medical schools are located in Omaha — the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and Creighton University Medical Center, as well as two pharmacy schools, a school of dentistry and other related health professional schools. The Lied Center at UNMC is one of the nation’s most active and most respected solid organ and bone marrow transplant centers. F I N D O U T M O R E This is only a sampling of the dynamic growth and many exciting opportunities and amenities that Greater Omaha has to offer. To learn more about this vibrant metropolitan community that’s on the move, call (800) 852-2622 or visit
  8. 8. Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership 1301 Harney Street Omaha, NE 68102 Phone: (402) 346-5000 Fax: (402) 346-7050 A program of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce 800-852-2622 11692 - 11/08 Photo © 2008 Ken Smith