WBC Report Cites More than 600 Major Regional Corporate Expansions and Relocations in 2012


More than 600 companies located or expanded in the Chicago region in 2012 according to World Business Chicago’s (WBC) 2012 Business Growth Profile, which was released today. The report highlights the year’s major new and expanded businesses, and specific economic development trends evident in the Chicago region.

The report notes that the 601 projects WBC tracked accounted for 54,798 new and retained jobs and $10.5 billion in investment across the region in 2012, all up significantly from 2011. As a result of the number of new and expanded companies, Site Selection Magazine named Chicago a Top Metro for direct investment for 2012, an honor bestowed upon the city every year since 1999.

“Chicago’s growth trajectory is on the rise, and the expansion and relocation numbers in 2012 definitely prove that,” said Rita Athas, president of World Business Chicago. “And, of the more than 600 new and expanded companies we’ve tracked, nearly two-thirds are companies that have relocated from outside the region or established a new presence in the metro area – a clear indication that Chicago offers distinct advantages.”

“Chicago consistently ranks among the top metropolitan areas in the country in overall project performance in Site Selection Magazine’s annual Top Metros competition. The Chicago MSA regularly demonstrates its strength as a top industrial market, as well as a destination of choice for high-tech firms, life-science companies and other innovation leaders,” said Ron Starner, Executive Vice President of Site Selection Magazine.

One trend illustrated in the Business Growth Profile is that companies are gravitating toward the central city, as evidenced in the U.S. Census Bureau report indicating that the central city added more residents than any other downtown in the nation between 2000 and 2010. In this same time period, Loop residents with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 36 percent.

The report also highlights WBC’s international outreach. The number of international companies that expanded in Chicago increased from 50 in 2011 to 80 in 2012. These companies included ThyssenKrupp’s new North American headquarters, V.ar.vit’s new manufacturing facility in Aurora and Hainan Airline’s new nonstop service between O’Hare and Beijing.

Additionally, the report emphasizes the city’s growing tech corridors; Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced more than 6,000 new jobs at tech companies in 2012 including Braintree, Salesforce and Nokia. The city’s position as a leader in logistics and freight was also highlighted – between a quarter and a third of all freight tonnage in the U.S. originates, terminates or passes though Chicago.

The Business Growth Profile also highlights reasons companies are locating in Chicago, with location and workforce topping the list. Read the 2013 Biz Growth Profile report.

*Includes data (where disclosed) for projects in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area that meet one or more of the following criteria (applies to leases and new construction): at least $1 million investment, 20,000 additional square feet, 50 additional jobs, a headquarters facility and/or WBC involvement. Aggregate data reflect new and retained jobs. The quality of each record is limited to the availability of data at the time of input as well as resources to confirm information and sources.

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