Chicago Named 2014 “Top Metro” for New and Expanding Companies


ChicagoSkyline_NorthLakeshoreMayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that for the second year in a row, Chicago was named the “Top Metro” in the nation* for corporate investment by Site Selection Magazine, considered the “industry scoreboard for corporate investment and relocation professionals.” The publication recognized that the Chicago area saw more new or expanded corporate facilities than any other metro area in 2014.

“This recognition reaffirms the upward trajectory of Chicago’s economy. It shows that by making the right investments and following the right strategy, we are giving more companies the confidence they need to create jobs right here in the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “From the depth of our talent to the strength of our transportation, more and more companies see a city on the move. They see Chicago building a bright economic future in all of our neighborhoods that they want to be a part of.”

The March issue of the publication ranks metropolitan areas across the country based on new and expanding company growth. World Business Chicago (WBC) tracked 624 expansion projects accounting for more than 21,000 jobs created and $6.8 billion in investments in 2014**; approximately half of these projects were included in Site Selection’s rankings.

Both the central business district and neighborhood expansion remained strong. Chicago’s ranking took into account 95 companies expanding in neighborhoods outside of the central business district, comprising more than 2,800 jobs created and $1.3 billion in investment.

The industries showing the most growth were manufacturing, education, retail and business services and include companies located across dozens of neighborhoods including Avondale, where Coyote Logistics has created 500 new jobs; Ashburn, where Oak Street Health is creating 300 jobs; Clearing, where Meade has created 200 jobs; Archer Heights’ Focal Point which created 50 jobs in 2014, and many others across the Near North Side, Near South Side, Lower West Side, Pullman and West Town neighborhoods, among others.

“In 2014 we’ve noticed a wide array of growth areas – from neighborhood business development to strategic partnerships with our counterparts overseas,” said World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “We see Site Selection’s top honor as proof that our efforts to drive Chicago’s growth in GRP, employment, productivity, income and wages are setting in.”

“Chicago’s back-to-back number one ranking in Site Selection’s “Top Metros” serves to underscore the strength of the city’s appeal,” said Site Selection Senior Editor Patty Rasmussen. “The combination of Chicago’s logistical assets, available intellectual capital and diverse business sectors, coupled with a thriving innovation and startup culture, make the city a dynamic choice for investors and site selectors.”

In addition, the number of tracked international companies new to, or expanding in, Chicago increased to 149 in 2014 from 114 in 2013. Illinois ranked #3 in the “Governor’s Cup,” a related ranking, with 394 projects (Texas was #1 and OH was #2).

Chicago’s diverse economy, with no greater than 14 percent of employees in any one industry, puts the city in a prime position as companies embrace new technologies needed to power their next generation growth. Its strong and diverse talent pool also remains a key reason companies continue to locate and expand in Chicago.

Highlights of the region’s growth are detailed in 2014 Biz Growth Profile.pdf, released today in conjunction with the Site Selection announcement. The Business Growth Profile sums up 2014 business activity in the metro area, noting positive trends in employment growth, consumer spending, and real estate markets as indicators of the region’s sustained economic recovery.

 

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*Of metros with population 1M+

**Refers to data (where disclosed) for new and expanding companies with a physical address in the 14-county Chicago region that meet at least one of these criteria: $1M investment, net gain of 20,000 sq ft, net gain of 20 FTE jobs, headquarters facility, and/or WBC involvement in expansion. WBC captures project information from media outlets, press releases, company websites, subscription services and WBC internal reporting; the quality of each record depends on the availability of data and resources to input and confirm information. Data is finalized in the first quarter of the following year to allow for the time lag in project reporting; year-to-date numbers are subject to revision and addition of projects.

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Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago is the public-private partnership leading the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs in order to drive business development, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy.

WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives.