Manufacturing Sectors in Nebraska

According to state data from 2016 – the latest year available – manufacturing is Nebraska’s largest industry in terms of state gross domestic product. Manufacturers account for nearly 12 percent of the state’s total output.

Manufacturing also represents a large segment of the Nebraska Chamber’s membership. That is why the Chamber pays special attention to Nebraska’s business conditions and workforce as both significantly affect the state’s manufacturers.

Here are some impressive facts about Nebraska’s manufacturing sector:

  • Nebraska is home to more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities.
  • Manufacturing employs approximately 100,000 Nebraska workers (around 10 percent of the state’s workforce).
  • Manufacturing contributes more than $13 billion annually in Nebraska’s total economic output.
  • Nebraska’s average annual employee compensation in manufacturing is around $59,900 (or roughly $17,200 more than the state’s average non-farm wages).
  • In 2016, about $5.5 billion of manufactured goods were exported from Nebraska.

The top manufacturing sectors in Nebraska in are food and beverages; chemical products; machinery; fabricated metal products; motor vehicles and parts; plastic and rubber products; computer and electronic products; mineral products; and electrical equipment and appliances.

Mike Boyle, vice president/plant manager at Lincoln’s Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing facility and a current board member of the State Chamber, says manufacturing in Nebraska is vital to the state’s long-term growth and economic diversity.

“Throughout the world, manufacturing output is the key driver of economic growth,” Boyle said. “Manufacturing provides high paying jobs and stable careers. It gives Nebraska’s next generation a meaningful opportunity to remain in our state and achieve financial security. A strong manufacturing sector not only generates jobs, it also provides new economic opportunities in related sectors, including transportation, energy and professional services. This is especially important in a state like ours.”

Every autumn, the Nebraska Chamber works with the governor to recognize October as Manufacturing Month in Nebraska. In recent years, State Chamber staff members have accompanied Governor Ricketts in a tour of manufacturing facilities and educational institutions across Nebraska.

Since 2008, the Nebraska Chamber and RSM – a leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries – have partnered to present the Nebraska Manufacturer of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to Nebraska manufacturers that successfully implement innovative ways of conducting business through the use of products, processes, technologies and strategies.

In previous years, the Manufacturer of the Year Award has gone to the following companies: Exmark Manufacturing of Beatrice; Garner Industries of Lincoln; Endicott Clay Products of Fairbury; Novozymes of Blair; Lozier Corporation of Omaha; Sargent Pipe Company of Broken Bow; Hornady Manufacturing of Grand Island; Lincoln Industries of Lincoln; Smeal Fire Apparatus of Snyder; NUCOR Steel of Norfolk; Chief Industries of Grand Island; Orthman of Lexington; Kawasaki of Lincoln; Snyder Industries of Lincoln; Majors Plastics of Omaha; Behlen Manufacturing of Columbus; Reinke Manufacturing of Deshler; Case IH of Grand Island; and Bruckman Rubber Co. of Hastings.