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An assembly jig and skins for a Boeing 777X cargo door are roped off during the grand opening of the Aerospace Division at Kawasaki's Lincoln manufacturing plant in 2017. The new aerospace division was one of Nebraska's 110 economic development projects during 2017.

If economic development was a boxing match, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better pound-for-pound fighter than Nebraska.

For the second year in a row, the state won the governor's cup award from Site Selection magazine for being the state with the most economic development projects per capita.

Nebraska had 110 economic development projects in 2017, or a little more than two a week. That was up from 101 in 2016.

Among the projects mentioned in the story in Site Selection's March edition were the Costco chicken processing plant that's being built near Fremont, Kawasaki's aerospace operation in Lincoln, which opened last spring, and the Facebook data center in Sarpy County.

Nebraska's economic development dominance extended to its metro areas as well.

For the third year in a row, Omaha was tops among metro areas with populations of 200,000 to 1 million with 42 projects. Lincoln finished ninth with 27 projects, up from 20th in 2016.

Sioux City, Iowa, with a metro area that includes part of Nebraska, finished first among metro areas with fewer than 200,000 people, also for the third year in a row. With 26 projects, Sioux City had twice as many as the next largest metro area.

Nebraska also finished in a tie for sixth place for most projects among its micropolitan areas, with 13 projects. Norfolk had three projects, while Beatrice, Fremont, Hastings, Kearney and Scottsbluff all had two.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who announced the awards at media events in Omaha and Lincoln on Monday, said many of Nebraska's projects come from companies that are already located in the state but chose to expand. He says the magazine's coverage helps raise the state's profile among companies that are looking for new places to establish operations.

Business officials say Nebraska is well-positioned because of its workforce, low cost of living and central location for shipping and distribution.

To read more about the awards, go to:

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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