Nebraska 8th In New CNBC Rankings,
But Still Has Few Bad Indicators
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record
Nebraska finished eighth overall in a ranking of America’s Top States for Business in 2019, as calculated by the business news television channel CNBC.
Nebraska is one of several states designated “on the rise” by the outlet, with its growth attributed to an improving economy – with a word of caution if economic headwinds remain steady.
“As a farm state, Nebraska is particularly vulnerable to the trade war,” CNBC said. “But it has weathered the storm for now.”
CNBC analyzed a wide variety of categories by surveying publicly available data.
Nebraska finished fifth for cost of doing business, sixth for education and ninth for economy.
“No one has ever accused Nebraska of being flashy, but this state gets it done,” CNBC said. “It is hard to find a more stable state, particularly when it comes to the economy. The housing market is among the healthiest in the nation, all things considered. Price appreciation is modest but reliable, keeping homes affordable and mortgage defaults in check. Low utility prices and robust state incentives make doing business here a bargain.”
The state’s worst categories were access to capital (No. 41), technology and innovation (No. 33) and workforce (No. 26).
Among all areas, workforce was the most highly weighted, accounting for 450 points out of 2,500 possible points.
Factors include educational attainment of workers, the number of available employees, the concentration of high-tech workers, workforce productivity, workplace training programs and union membership and the state’s right-to-work laws.
“While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, does not resonate with business,” CNBC said explaining its methodology.
While union membership is nearly half of what it was in 1989, Nebraska’s unemployment rate of 3% is below the national average.
Leaders in the state’s business community have stressed the importance of continuing to focus on building Nebraska’s workforce, and in particular attracting workers with technology skills to move to or remain in the state.
Nevertheless, the state climbed six spots in the rankings since last year, which Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts attributed to recruiting new opportunities to the state.
“Our pro-growth climate has helped Nebraska attract more new investments per capita than any state in the nation for three years in a row,” Ricketts said. “Consequently, we are hitting employment records every year, and helping keep Nebraska the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.”
Find more analysis from CNBC at cnbc.com/americas-top-states-for-business.