Nebraska Thriving Index Insights: Panhandle Region

Nebraska Thriving Index Panhandle Region, Garden County

Next up in our exploration of the insights from the Nebraska Thriving Index — the Panhandle region of Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scottsbluff, Sheridan and Sioux counties.

With a Nebraska Thriving Index value of 98, the Panhandle region ranks just below the peer average of 100, but third among its six peer regions, which are listed in the full print report.

This “average” ranking masks several areas of strength and weakness.

The region is an entrepreneurial place that values education and offers a diverse pool of work opportunities. These features allow the Panhandle region to have a resilient economy, which is explicitly expressed through a first-place ranking in the Economic Opportunity & Diversity Index.

Using the interactive online tool, users can drill down into the region’s rankings among its peers for each of the measures that comprise this index:

Despite the opportunities, the Panhandle region lags in terms of economic and demographic growth.

Compared to its six peer regions, in the Growth Index the Panhandle ranks last in total employment growth and private employment. The following are its rankings in the other growth index measures, all of which are over the 2014 – 2017 timeframe:

As for the Demographic Growth & Renewal Index, the Panhandle ranks fourth and well below the peer average for all of the measures comprising this index:

The Panhandle region can work to improve its fundamental economic conditions to encourage economic and demographic growth, while preserving its entrepreneurial culture. Specific steps may include:

The other Indexes and their rankings for the Panhandle region include:

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