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Plains states' momentum
“Our research shows that the Great Plains, far from dying, is in the midst of a historic recovery,” says the report. Its primary author is California-based urban economist Joel Kotkin, who spoke a year ago at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s annual economic outlook luncheon.
The report doesn’t sidestep problems and challenges: “Large areas have been left behind — rural small towns, deserted mining settlements, Native American reservations — and continue to suffer widespread poverty, low wages and, in many cases, demographic decline.”
Still, the analysis points to the region’s opportunities in fields such as finance, insurance, manufacturing and biofuels, and notes new opportunities that build on strengths in agriculture and natural resources: “With its vast resources, the Great Plains is in an excellent position to take advantage of worldwide increases in demand for food, fiber and fuel.”