By Dr. Mitch Herian
The report discusses the landscape of technology occupations and industries in Nebraska, with a focus on the contribution of the technological sector to the Nebraska economy. The report provides an overview of technology occupations and industries in Nebraska and relies upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) to provide a quantitative analysis of the technology sector. The report also discusses the importance of technology-related occupations in all industries, with examples such as IT-help desk professionals and network specialists. Additionally, the report presents case studies of IT businesses in Nebraska and a brief discussion of venture capital in Nebraska. The report concludes that technology-related occupations are important across industries in Nebraska and the technology industry makes significant contributions to the Nebraska economy.
Employment Trends Summary
In addition to examining the technology industry in Nebraska, the report details the importance of understanding trends and forecast including which industries will experience the most growth in the state in the coming years. The UNL-BBR researchers analyzed employment numbers for various industries between 2017 and 2021 and found that the Software Publishers industry experienced the greatest growth, with a 113% increase in employment from 2020 to 2021. The Engineering Services industry, Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals industry have also seen steady growth in recent years. On the other hand, the Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services industry has experienced the greatest contraction, with a 49% decrease in employment from 2017 to 2021. It is unclear why this industry has seen such a significant decrease in Nebraska, especially when employment in this industry has been increasing considerably across the United States.
Economic Impact of Tech Overview
The economic footprint of technology in Nebraska includes both direct spending by businesses and spillover effects on other industries. The size of these spillovers, or multiplier impacts, are estimated using economic multipliers for Nebraska provided by the IMPLAN model. Economic multipliers show the ratio of multiplier impact to direct impact and can be calculated for output, employee compensation, and employment. The economic footprint of the technology industry in Nebraska for 2021 was $19.13 billion in output, including $6.55 billion in employee compensation paid to 92,901 workers, with $3.79 billion in direct labor income across 43,589 jobs. This equates to an average annual salary of $86,838 for positions in technology-related industries.
Tech Startups and Venture Funding
The report explores the growth of venture capital in Nebraska and its impact on the state’s economy. It explains how venture capital seeks to invest in companies that will spend significantly in early development years to build products that will be sold at low costs on an ongoing basis. The shift towards digital technology has made venture capital more synonymous with growth. The growth in the creation of companies in Nebraska is significant as new jobs come from young companies, especially high growth technology-oriented ones. Though the Nebraska Business Innovation Act and the Nebraska Prototyping Fund provide support structures for the emergence of new technology companies, the current program at the state level does not make up for the lack of early capital providers in the state. More pre-seed, seed, and early-stage funds are necessary to fill the top of the funnel and should come from the locality. Additionally, it is important to find ways to provide access to capital in rural parts of the state to encourage their participation in the technology industry growth.