World Business Chicago tracks indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including employment in major sectors, residential and office real estate data, price and purchasing indexes, freight demand, and auto and truck sales. Note: employment data refers to payroll job estimates for the city of Chicago and is not adjusted for seasonality.
Key trends evident this month include:
- New hires in the Midwest increased from 1,049,000 to 1,218,000, a 16.1% percent improvement year-over-year. Furthermore, the Midwest’s quit rate of 2.0 was the highest March value since 2008 and a positive indication of wage recovery (employees tend to quit and switch jobs during periods of economic growth).
- Two consumer sentiment indexes reported robust gains over the last year. The Consumer Confidence Index and Consumer Sentiment Index increased by a respective 12.9 and 11.8 percentage points since April 2014.
- Midwest housing starts increased to 366,000 units in March (seasonally adjusted annual volume), an 11.9% growth compared to the same period last year.
- New private residential building permits in the city of Chicago increased by 69.7% year-over-year. From January to March 2015, 1,666 building permits were issued, compared to 982 permits issued during same period in 2014.
- Passenger volume for O’Hare and Midway Airports grew by 591,924, a 7.8% year-over-year change since March 2014. Concurrently, the hotel occupancy rate in Chicago increased by 3.0 percentage points year-over-year.
These and other trends are illustrated in this month’s Chicago by the Numbers.