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Omaha economy in good shape despite pandemic

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Posted at 4:19 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 17:19:05-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - The Greater Omaha Chamber announced results of the region’s pandemic-response initiatives as well as research outcomes from the metro’s Greater Omaha 2040 efforts.

As the pandemic escalated last year, Greater Omaha leaders put together the Thrive 2020 task force, a coalition of business leaders charged with addressing economic growth, small business, diversity and equity, talent, entrepreneurship, and public policy in the pandemic environment.

Officials said the region was named one of 11 secondary markets positioned to thrive and is undergoing a robust recovery thanks to Thrive 2020 markets and Greater Omaha 2040 efforts.

Officials said of the nation’s top 55 metros, Omaha/Council Bluffs has the lowest unemployment according to numbers from Dec. 2020. On top of that, Zippier named Omaha the best city in Nebraska to get a job in 2021.

According to officials, several factors contributed to Omaha’s economic upturn such as accelerating funding for startups, building a supplier diversity committee, and launching a financial literacy initiative.

“Thrive 2020 was an exemplary effort – an authentic exercise in community continuity during multiple crises,” said James Blackledge, chairman and CEO, Mutual of Omaha and Greater Omaha Chamber chairman, board of directors. “While none of us welcomed the global pandemic that both precipitated a worldwide economic downturn and touched off staggering health concerns, Greater Omaha’s response to the upheaval was intentional, coordinated and created positive outcomes.”

Greater Omaha 2040 reported research from nearly 90 CEOs that found the region’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion remains very important to the future of Omaha. It also found that quality of life should remain an area of emphasis for attracting and keeping talent.

“Many area leaders served in multiple capacities, on both Thrive 2020 committees and in our re-evaluation of Greater Omaha 2040,” said David Brown, President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. “These leaders were tenacious, innovative and earnest in their desire to ensure this community had the resources it needed to advance, in spite of unprecedented difficulties."

Brown added regional leaders were “tireless” in their commitment to move Greater Omaha forward during changing times.

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