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Business Development

Grand Island’s positive business climate and easy lifestyle is a draw for visitors, new residents, and businesses looking for opportunity and quality of life.

Grand Island has experienced a level of economic activity and growth that has distinguished it within the region and state.  While the economy throughout Nebraska has been strong, Grand Island’s economy has exceeded that experienced by most of the State.

ag1We attribute this strong economic growth and a robust economy to:

  • A strong agricultural environment.
  • Increased retail sales and “pull factor” associated with a strong and diverse retail sector.
  • Enhanced appeal as a destination for visitors due to attractions such as the Nebraska State Fair, Husker Harvest Days, Harvest of Harmony, Heartland Shooting Park, and other sporting events, Stuhr Museum, and the Sandhill Crane migration.
  • Business community that works together to create a business climate that promotes opportunity and growth.
  • Progressive, pro-growth attitude among business and community leaders.
  • A diverse economy with a good mix of agriculture, retail, service, manufacturing, financial services, transportation, warehousing and distribution logistics, and tourism.
  • Increased awareness and focus on industries that create employment opportunities that will increase average household income.
  • Increased prominence and visibility in the State due to the location of the Nebraska State Fair and attraction of more than 330,000 fairgoers and vendors annually.

As one of only three metropolitan areas in Nebraska, Grand Island is recognized for the depth and diversity of its economy and the wealth of businesses and industries that serve the community, region, state, and nation.

The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce plays an instrumental role in supporting, assisting, and facilitating business expansion. The Chamber offers a Site Selection database designed to help businesses, site selectors, and entrepreneurs identify available buildings and undeveloped property for business and industrial use. Chamber also provides technical assistance in the areas of workforce development, leadership, and market research. Businesses can also tap into the Chamber’s resources for help with navigating development processes.


Research provides insight and answers questions.  Learn about Grand Island’s economy and demographics.  Choose a report listed below or contact us for more information at 308.382.9210.
Business Patterns
County Demographics
Major Employers
Taxable Sales
Business Directory
150 Mile Radius Map
Motor Vehicle Sales
Lodging Taxes
Food and Beverage Occupation Tax Revenues

Job Growth (2003 – 2013)

 Total Number of Jobs  Recession & Recovery (2008 - 2013) Ten Year Change (2003 - 2013) 
200320082013Net Change% ChangeNet Change% Change
Hall County, NE (Grand Island)34,05337,11738,4501,3333.60%4,39712.90%
United States144,264,213151,760,883149,927,264-1,833,619-1.20%5,663,0513.90%

Job Growth and Wages by Sector (2003 – 2013)

SectorLocation Quotient (2013)Jobs (2003)Jobs (2013)Net Change, Jobs (03-13)% Change, Jobs (03-13)Average Annual Wage (2014)% Change, Jobs (03-13)Average Annual Wage (2013)
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting1.68985800-18519.0%$35,873-3.0%$31,769
Mining, Quarrying, Oil/Gas Extraction0.08<1017----$35,34060.0%$114,441
Utilities (private only)0.2221311048.0%$59,359-5.0%$128,493
Wholesale Trade0.991,3351,4921612.0%$52,3311.0%$78,889
Retail Trade1.285,0905,116261.0%$22,715-1.0%$33,199
Transportation and Warehousing1.331,2681,65238430.0%$42,1797.0%$57,478
Finance and Insurance0.831,5671,317-250-16.0%$46,025-1.0%$104,167
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing0.492833102710.0%$32,459-5.0%$52,322
Professional and Technical Services0.35805839344.0%$43,25018.0%$89,950
Management of Companies and Enterprises0.82101433332329.0%$40,79325.0%$129,778
Administrative and Support Services0.811,1741,90272862.0%$24,1799.0%$38,989
Educational Services (private only)0.241772325531.0%$20,48925.0%$43,813
Health Care and Social Assistance0.893,5734,22765418.0%$38,08625.0%$53,701
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation0.633343956118.0%$15,91511.0%$35,448
Accomodation and Food Services0.912,5502,85630612.0%$13,00116.0%$21,130
Other Services1.021,5091,92341427.0%$19,2352.0%$28,827
Government (inc. public util. & educ.)0.864,8155,31349810.0%$41,1512.0%$68,301
Total, all sectors34,05338,4504,39713.0%$33,9604.0%$57,947


Entrepreneurs play a vital role in community growth and development. As the engine of the U.S. economy, entrepreneurship is one of the primary means of building a sustainable, diverse economy. Their contributions to the community include jobs, supporting local businesses, and investing in community initiatives. Innovative and creative, entrepreneurs have the ability to create and capitalize on new business opportunities.

Grand Island, like communities across the United States, has identified entrepreneurial growth as an important segment of its business and development strategy. Securing capital is critical to the success of entrepreneurs. The Chamber is assisting Invest Nebraska, a private non-profit corporation focused growing the state’s economy, in the development of a private funding pool (Island Angel Funds) for early stage companies who are creating jobs. In addition to seed capital, participants in the Island Angel Fund program receive valuable assistance and mentoring from industry and entrepreneurial veterans. See www.investnebraska.com.

Recognizing the importance of supporting angel investors, the Nebraska Unicameral passed the Nebraska Angel Investment Tax Credit Act in 2011. This program provides refundable state income tax credits to qualified investors that invest in early-stage companies. For more information, visit www.neded.org.

Cost of Doing Business

Coming soon.

Labor Force

work3Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism comprise Grand Island’s top three industries. Over 100 manufacturing plants provide jobs for more than 7,000 area residents. As one of the highest per-capita retail centers in the state, shoppers travel to Grand Island from across the region.

  • A high underemployment rate provides a tremendous pool of prospective employees for local and new business endeavors.
  • Nebraska is a right-to-work state, which gives employees the freedom to decide whether or not to join or support a union.
  • Our excellent work ethic, combined with Grand Island’s low cost of living, is attractive to businesses seeking to relocate.
  • Nebraska Workforce Development provides a wide array of services for both employees and employers. Information on available job openings, unemployment services, safety and labor laws is available through the Workforce Development Center.

Labor Wages

Hourly wage in manufacturing and selected businesses (production and/or clerical)   
*Nebraska Department of Labor, June 2016
Job Title*Occupation CodeEntryHigh
Skilled Machining Occup.51-4034$14.43$21.26
Hourly Supervisor/Foreman51-1011$18.19$26.71
Office File Clerk43-4071$9.91$15.87
Computer Operator43-9011$11.29$19.24
Material Handler53-7062$9.78$15.68
Secretary (except legal)43-6014$11.98$17.88
Tool & Die Maker51-4111$17.73$26.91
Line Production Workers (helpers)51-9198$9.56$13.81
Welder, Cutter, Solderer51-4121$13.52$20.10
Truck Driver53-3032$15.14$23.60

Labor Force

Area Civilian Labor Force
Grand Island44,964

Employment Rates

AreaNumber Employed
Grand Island43,369

Unemployment Rates

AreaNumber UnemployedUnemployment Figures
Grand Island1,5143.5%


Developing a Workforce Pipeline

work2To further enhance the area’s workforce, Grand Island Public Schools developed the Career Pathways Institute – a cutting-edge, 21st Century Learning experience for area high school students who are interested in technical or industrial careers that require a high level of specialized training. Through the result of collaborative efforts between the Public Schools, Central Community College, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, and private businesses, this project helps meet an increased demand by Grand Island’s existing and prospective businesses for a larger skilled workforce in some of the area’s fastest growing careers.


Communities face numerous challenges to remaining competitive in today’s global economy. For years, businesses selected company sites based on location, location, location. Today, the mantra heard more often than not is workforce, workforce, workforce. Communities with a skilled and trained workforce have a competitive advantage.

This was the catalyst for community, business and education leaders to develop and build a high school educational and training program designed to increase the number of potential employees in the pipeline while at the same time provide students with a strong alternative to the four year college path.

In 2013 Grand Island celebrated the opening of the new Career Pathways Institute, an innovative 21st century learning experience that benefits area students and businesses. The program gives motivated students the opportunity to enter the workforce or gain a head start on college upon completion of high school. It also helps provide area businesses with a well-trained workforce. Business and industry leaders play a critical role with the Career Pathways Institute, providing input on curriculum development, giving presentations in the classroom and offering internships. In doing so, business leaders connect with the students who could be their future workforce.

workDue to student interest and community demand, five pathway programs were developed: construction, information technology, automotive, engineering and technical services, and manufacturing. Additional pathways can be added as needed. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with the high schools, Career Pathways Institute and Central Community College to establish educational synergies in the skilled trades fields.

The ability to anticipate change and adapt has never been more important. To ensure the skills of our workforce are equal to, or greater than, those required by our employers, the Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Central Community College provides affordable training programs for member businesses. Topics such as emerging trends, software training, and professional development are offered to all Chamber business partners.

The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce understands the education and training requirements of area businesses. Changing technology and business models often mean training and new skill sets for employees. The Chamber partners with Central Community College to establish specialized programs to train workers with the skills that employers need.

The value of education extends beyond the student. Post-high school education generates wide-reaching benefits for employees and employers alike with positive impacts on productivity and performance. The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce works with local four year colleges – Doane University and Bellevue College – to increase the human capital within our community, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Housing, schools, services, recreation, and most importantly, “community” are key factors to consider when choosing a place to call home. Quality of life directly impacts the ability of companies to attract employees and to provide a fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle for business leaders and their workforce. The business community and the Chamber of Commerce work diligently to ensure that Grand Island offers an exceptional quality of life predicated on strong values including family, faith, work ethic, and community.


Low electricity rates, and reliable, efficient production of utilities makes Grand Island businesses happy. Nebraska’s commitment to public power and investing in generating electricity at a local level ensures operations are not impacted by downtime, rate spikes, or outages.

Transportation & Infrastructure

Location/Transportation.  Grand Island is strategically located along Interstate 80 – one of the primary east –west highway transportation corridors in the nation.  Grand Island has easy access from three interchanges to Interstate 80.  Average daily traffic volume on Interstate 80 at Grand Island Exit 312 is 20,325.
Other major highways traversing the community are:
U.S. Highway 30 – an east – west corridor which spans Nebraska from Wyoming to Iowa.
U.S. Highway 34 – an east – west corridor which runs from the Colorado border west of Haigler to Plattsmouth.
U.S. Highway 281 a major north – south corridor which runs from north of Dunseith, North Dakota at the Canadian border to Brownsville, Texas, just short of the Mexican border.
State Highway 2 – an east – west corridor which runs from northwest of Crawford and ends southeast of Grand Island at an intersection with Interstate 80; the eastern segment begins in Lincoln and ends at Nebraska City.
With Grand Island’s establishment of a Metropolitan Planning Organization, transportation and transit needs of the community can be better planned with the use of federal funding.  Cities of the first class that do not have an MPO do not have this ability or flexibility.
Air Service.  Air service to and from Grand Island is available, reliable, and affordable.  Central Nebraska Regional Airport offers daily nonstop jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth on American Eagle Airlines. They also offer twice-weekly nonstop service to Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa and weekly nonstop service to Orlando on Allegiant.  The main runway will be expanded to 8,000 feet in 2016 to facilitate larger planes.  A new passenger terminal with additional parking was completed in 2016.
Public Transportation.  Public transportation is available through the Hall County Public Transportation (HCPT) Service, Monday-Friday, beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.


The Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) to provide professional level consulting assistance to small businesses in outstate Nebraska.  NBDC consultants help new businesses get started and existing businesses improve their operations through assistance with business loan applications, business planning, and business strategy development.
NBDC also assists with development of business exit and success plans to maximize the sales value of the business and ensure for a smooth transfer to the next owner. For more information, visit nbdc.unomaha.edu.


Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce
309 West Second Street
Grand Island, NE 68801
Phone: 308.382.9210
Fax: 308.382.1154