Key Industries

Chicago has one of the world's largest and most diversified economies

Chicago’s economy thrives on a combination of mature (manufacturing and transportation/distribution) and emerging (info-tech, R&D, and green energy) industries. 

Some of the region’s largest employers include Advocate Health Care, Walgreens, AT&T, United Continental Holdings, Abbott Laboratories, J.P. Morgan Chase, Allstate Corp., and Jewel-Osco. 

The region ranks in the Top 5 in output among U.S. metro areas in a number of key industries including: Business & Financial Services, Manufacturing, Health Services, and Transportation & Distribution.

Business & Financial Services

Chicago offers one of the largest, most diverse pools with over 1 million employees in

Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping & payroll services

Advertising services

Recruiting services

Legal services

Management services

Research & Development

Specialized design


Chicago has consistently been a leader in manufacturing, with over 405,000 employed across various manufacturing specialties.

The region’s base continues to change with the economy, recently adding jobs in green building materials and hi-tech products.


The Chicago region provides life science and biotech entrepreneurs with a tremendous balance of capital, community and global fluency.

Area companies are at the forefront of developments in diagnostics, therapeutics, medical equipment, and food and environmental biotechnologies.

The region’s companies are also enabling technologies such as bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics.


Chicago’s innovation ecosystem matures, as components converge

Established and emerging companies, alongside the city’s prominent universities and entrepreneurship facilities, its vibrant tech culture and initiatives, and its incubators and early-stage growth accelerators, are all coming together to make the city a dominating player in the global technology scene.

Additionally, consistent with its history of being a center for applied technologies, Chicago’s technology expertise is based on a concentration of information intensive industries.


535,000+ employed in health services industry

91 hospitals

6 medical schools

Transportation & Distribution

Chicago has dominated the North American transportation and distribution scene since the 1850s. In the past 20 years, it has become the major crossroads of America’s global trade.

Consequently, Chicago offers the most competitive and cost-effective transportation center in the Americas.

Chicago is

Centrally located with air, rail, and water distribution capacity

The hub of six of seven Class I U.S. railroads

A Top 5 Container Port in the World, handling over 13 million TEU’s

At the convergence of six major highways

An air system hub, shipping and receiving 1.5 million tons of freight, mail, and goods annually

A non-stop global gateway to more than 50 international and 150 domestic business centers

Linked to the Atlantic via St. Lawrence Seaway and to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River

Capable of handling ocean-going ships and barges through its two ports