World Business Chicago Looks Forward To 2019 As 2018 Ends Strong


Chicago continued its streak of banner years for business in 2018


For the fifth year in a row World Business Chicago’s (WBC) efforts have been shown to pay off by Chicago being ranked as the number one city in the country for corporate relocations and office expansions. And for the sixth year in a row, Chicago was rated as having the most foreign direct investment in North America, and ranking at number five in the world.

In 2018, WBC efforts contributed to 68 corporate relocations or expansions, resulting in the creation and retention of 15,316 jobs.

This year saw moves and announcements from iconic brands like McDonald’s Corporation, who moved their corporate headquarters back to Chicago into the West Loop with 2,000 jobs, and Walgreens, who announced a new office in the Old Post Office with 1,800 jobs. First Midwest Bankcorp, Inc. also celebrated the opening of their new Chicago headquarters in October after announcing the move back in January of 2017.


The burgeoning tech and innovation scene in Chicago continued to dominate as one of Chicago’s fastest growing industries, as major companies like Facebook, Salesforce, and Google announced major expansions totaling 2,500 jobs.


The burgeoning tech and innovation scene in Chicago continued to dominate as one of Chicago’s fastest growing industries, as major companies like Facebook, Salesforce, and Google announced major expansions totaling 2,500 jobs. Including office expansions of companies like Capgemini, Collective Health, Project44, ServiceNow, Solstice, and Yello and corporate headquarters relocations of DMG Mori and OneSpan, Chicago remains at the center of the technology conversation. HERE Technologies also announced the establishment of their first North American headquarters in Chicago.

In addition, WBC and Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced the addition of 2,000 tech jobs in 2018 and 2019 from 16 Chicago tech companies who participated in WBC’s Tech Day (link to release). Chicago was also ranked as the top city for return on investment for venture capital investment in startups.

Chicago continued to lead in 2018 as the U.S.’s leading transportation and logistics hub with the opening of C.H. Robinson’s Chicago flagship office in August at the Lincoln Yards development. The office is their largest in North America at 207,000 square feet with 1,100 employees and the expectation to add more over the next several years. The office serves over 28,000 customers and managers over 1.6 million shipments annually. Chicago’s logistics industry has a GRP of $23B and employs 196,000 people.

Food manufacturing has long been a major industry in Chicago, and the city continued as the number one city in the country for overall food manufacturing GRP and employment. Not only did McDonald’s Company move back into Chicago, but Ferrara Candy Company also announced that they are moving their headquarters to Chicago, following the lead of other food companies in recent years such as ConAgra and Archer Daniels Midland.

Continuing the food trend, just this month Mayor Emanuel officially opened the Hatchery Chicago, an innovative new food business incubator in East Garfield Park, following a trend of renewed investment in neighborhoods too-long underserved.

As a successful 2018 comes to a close, World Business Chicago looks forward to continuing to attract companies to Chicago and support office expansions of the city’s success stories, while ensuring that the city’s economy in total continues to grow inclusively for all residents.

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