Nebraska isn’t Texas, California, or New York–the state isn’t known world-wide for its variety of culture—but it does play a significant role in manufacturing worldwide.
In the state, manufacturing accounts for 11.8 percent of the total output and employed 9.8 percent of the workforce. Nebraska’s leading manufacturing activity is food processing—meat products, dairy products, and livestock feed–and the state is seen as one of the world’s largest meatpacking centers, as well.
Though Nebraska may not be known as a global cultural force, we’re often recognized for our positivity in the business world and near the end of last year, the Nebraska Public Power District found that the state was making considerable progress in employment compared to surrounding states despite the skills gap.
If Nebraska wants to continue to grow larger than surrounding states and even the rest of the country, the state needs to focus maintaining competitive energy prices for metal fabricating. Another big gap between Nebraska and other states is the labor costs, which were 10.4 percent less.
But Nebraska won’t be the only state to thrive in 2014–we’re hopeful that manufacturing will continue pushing the economy forward. This push in the economy, and in Nebraska manufacturing, will have to come through continued advancement. So, what should Nebraska (and the rest of the US) keep up with in 2014 as far as manufacturing?
- Sensing and process control: Computers already drive most manufacturing technology, but industries should be aware that automated sensors can give the necessary information to operate an entire factory (i.e. tracking deliveries).
- Nanomanufacturing: Nanomanufacturing means being able to manipulate materials on a molecular or atomic scale so companies can produce things like high-efficiency solar cells and batteries.
- Flexible technologies: These include bendable tablet computers and clothing wired to your body temperature. The Wall Street Journal says that these will define the next generation of consumers. But, these technologies require continued advancements in manufacturing to be totally viable.
There could be many more bullets added to the list, like additive manufacturing or biomanufacturing, but despite all the advancements that could be achieved in 2014, Nebraska is working its way to the top of the list of manufacturing states.
Global competitiveness is key to Nebraska’s success in the year to come, and with the right advances in manufacturing, Nebraska’s second largest economic force could strengthen more than surrounding states.