Known by locals as the Metro Area or simply Metro, the Omaha-Council Bluffs area consists of eight counties straddling Iowa and Nebraska. This greater metro area boasts a population of approximately 813,000 residents, roughly half of whom live in Omaha city proper (also known as the "Big O"). Per capita income for the greater Omaha area hovers around $36,000 a year, according to the US Census Bureau.
Although the surrounding regions are still predominantly agriculturally based, Omaha has enjoyed substantial growth thanks to the steady influx of numerous Fortune 500 companies (many of which are headquartered in the region):
- Berkshire Hathaway
- ConAgra Foods
- Mutual of Omaha
- Union Pacific Railroad
- TD Ameritrade
But by far, the largest contributor is Offutt Air Force Base, a military installation that served as the official headquarters of Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War. It is estimated that the economic impact of the Base on the local community is approximately $2 billion annually.
Other prominent Omaha-area employers include:
- First National Bank of Omaha
- Gallup Organization
- Omaha Steaks
- Werner Enterprises
- Woodmen of the World
- Valmont Industries
A healthy $2 billion has been invested in the extensive business development taking place in downtown Omaha near the riverfront. Massive construction is underway to erect a new $300 million convention center, not to mention modernized headquarters for the five Fortune 500 companies based in Omaha.
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