Growth in wages in the ethanol sector outpaced all industry wage growth in the past decade, increasing by more than 58%.
According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, average pay in the ethanol sector has increased from $35,479 in 2000 to $56,158 in 2010. Meanwhile, the statewide average pay for all industries in Nebraska was $37,319 in 2010.
While the recession has caused stagnating pay or job reductions in some industries, the ethanol industry has helped keep the Midwest's economy robust, says Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator.
"Ethanol is vital to Nebraska's economy," according to Sneller. "The ethanol industry has created thousands of jobs while saving drivers money and burning more cleanly than gasoline."
Another study from the Nebraska Public Power District has found that Nebraska's ethanol industry has directly created over 1,300 jobs, saved drivers $200 million through lower fuel prices, and created $3.5 billion in total economic output. State and local governments have collected over $30 million in new tax revenues created by the ethanol industry, Sneller says.
Catherine Lang, the Nebraska Commissioner of Labor, says the ethanol industry has been a boon for the state's economic development.
"A vibrant rural economy is vital for the economic success of Nebraska," according to Lang. "The ethanol industry provides high skill, high wage jobs for citizens across Nebraska. The Industry has been a strong partner along with our educational institutions, assuring that there are education and training programs to develop the skilled workforce to support and maintain this important industry in Nebraska."
Sneller says that the ethanol industry has had an especially positive economic impact in rural areas.
"The ethanol industry has indirectly created more than 3,000 jobs, many of these in rural areas where higher than average wages have an even great impact," Sneller says.