Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Our state is receiving national attention for the sound and responsible fiscal policies that have put Nebraska in better shape than most of America. Our numbers and rankings are a strong indication that Nebraska is on the move.
It is no longer a secret that Nebraska is one of the best places for new and expanding businesses to locate. According to the Tax Foundation, the best state for new business relative to taxes and regulations is Nebraska. For existing businesses, Nebraska is ninth. Many companies in the United States and around the world have discovered that Nebraska offers the ideal location, a quality workforce, and a positive economic environment for a wide variety of industries and business opportunities.
Nebraska has the second lowest unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, compared to the national average at 8.2 percent. Our focus on tax reform, infrastructure improvement, innovation and entrepreneurship is paying off, but we also know we have more work to do. Transportation, communication and business operations have changed where and how business is done around the world and technology has made the impossible possible.
Besides the Tax Foundation, Nebraska has been recognized by CNBC as one of America's Top 10 Best States for Business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce new national economic study ranked Nebraska sixth for tax and regulatory climate and 12th for overall economic performance. Additionally, Nebraska ranked seventh among the fastest growing states for science, technology, engineering and math jobs from 2009-2011. According to Forbes, Nebraska is the eighth best state for business and careers.
There are many reasons for Nebraska's success. We've modernized our economic incentive programs -- The Nebraska Advantage. We've lowered taxes. We've controlled spending and we've invested in education and jobs.
The Nebraska Advantage was designed to spotlight the state as a preferred location for starting and growing businesses, and it's working. A recap shows that 294 applications were filed from 2006 through this past May. These companies will be investing $7.6 billion in our economy and creating approximately 20,000 new jobs. An industry-by-industry view reveals that 35 were bio-medical or renewable fuels projects, 65 were telecommunications or other services projects, 156 were manufacturing or processing, and 38 were financial or insurance services. These projects are all across Nebraska.
I am very proud that our business friendly policies have resulted in Nebraska's population growth exceeding the national average two of the last three years -- that's not easy to do when you are a state without oceans, mountains, or a warm climate year around. The bottom line is Nebraska has good jobs, good schools, safe communities, affordable homes and unmatched quality of life.
Nebraska is on the move and we want to continue this momentum ensuring we do even better in the future.