In the 19th century, growth in the fledgling economy of young Omaha was spurred on by the city becoming a central transportation hub for the US. This effect was furthered as the city's prominence in the meatpacking industry increased, with the city eventually coming to dominate that industry; this led to a legacy of notable steakhouses that continues to this day. Hosting the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898 provided Omaha with an influx of visitors and trade, and it wasn't long before the city's large role in the nation's economy and culture was firmly established.
Both historically and presently, Omaha has had a thriving and influential music scene, particularly in the genres of jazz, rhythm & blues, and funk. This legacy is reflected in the city being home to the Omaha Blues, Jazz, & Gospel Festival and the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame.
Additionally, the city has a renowned theater community, being home to such venues as the Omaha Community Playhouse, which is the largest community theater in the US. The city's Henry Doorly Zoo has been ranked as the country's best zoo by Reader's Digest.
- Number 7 on NerdWallet's 2014 list of "Best Cities for Job Seekers".
- One of RealClearPolitics.com's 2014 "Top 10 Cities with the Least Bad Unemployment Rates".
- Number 13 on vocativ.com's 2013 list of "The 35 Best U.S. Cities For People 35 and Under".
Major Industries and Employers
Omaha boasts a diverse economy, with its major industries including health, data-processing, education, finance and banking, insurance, telecommunications, construction and architecture, and transportation.
The city is home to the head offices of five Fortune 500 companies: Berkshire Hathaway, holding company of Warren Buffett (resident billionaire and one of the richest people alive); packaged foods company ConAgra Foods; Union Pacific Railroad; mutual insurance and financial services giant Mutual of Omaha; and employee-owned contractor Kiewit Corporation.
There are also other huge corporations based in the city, such as Gallup, Inc., Werner Enterprises, and First National of Nebraska. Additional major employers in Omaha include the public school system, various hospitals and medical centers, Offut Air Force Base, West Corporation, and First Data Corporation.
The 2012 population of Omaha was 421,570, with the median age being 33.7. Veterans comprise 28,660 members of the population, and there are 39,112 foreign-born people in the city.
In terms of educational attainment, Omaha is somewhat ahead of the US average. Of the city's residents aged 25 or over, 88.1% have graduated high school and 32.5% have earned at least bachelor's degree. (The national rates are 85.7% and 28.5%, respectively.)
16.4% of residents live below the poverty level. However, the city's unemployment rate is only 4.1%, well below that of the US as a whole (6.7%). The homeownership rate is 58.8%, and the mean per capita yearly income is $26,880.
Compared to the US as a whole, Omaha's has a slightly higher poverty rate and a somewhat lower homeownership rate and per capita income. However, educational attainment rates in the city are high, and the unemployment rate is very low. Additionally, the city has a rich history in such musical genres as jazz, blues, funk, and soul, and it has a vibrant current theater scene. As such, Nebraska's largest city could be a good destination for job seekers, especially ones interested in those aspects of the city's culture.