2011 Business Growth Profile

Chicago’s economy continued to show signs of recovery in 2011. Employment rebounded in education, healthcare, and professional/business services; regional output grew by 3.2 percent; and exports increased by 2 percent over 2010 (chemicals and industrial machinery exports grew by more than 25% each). Commercial space and development site sales throughout the Chicago region were 83 percent higher in 2011 ($10.8 billion compared to $5.9 billion in 2010), led by industrial sales which improved from $800 million in 2010 to $2.8 billion in 2011. Last year was particularly notable for Chicago area startups, which raised more venture capital than in any year since 2001, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

World Business Chicago (WBC) experienced this upward trend firsthand. In 2011, WBC directly assisted 106 companies with relocation and expansion, 15 of which are showcased under “WBC Project Highlights” in the PDF below.

Continuing a decade-long trend of being among the top metros for expansion, Chicago was ranked Top Metro in the U.S. for business expansions, according to Site Selection magazine. Additional accolades from 2011 include:

  • Top 10 Global Leader in Finance in the City of London’s 2011 Global Financial Centres report
  • #4 Most Economically Powerful City in the World in the Richard Florida/Martin Prosperity Institute Global Economic Power Index
  • Top tier in transportation and infrastructure, digital economy, ease of doing business, R&D, entrepreneurial environment, financial and business services, low cost of living, and mass transit in The Partnership for New York City’s Cities of Opportunity report, an assessment of 65 global cities
  • America’s Best Downtown in Forbes, citied for incomparable architectural views, shopping, restaurants and recreational opportunities

These attributes, combined with Chicago’s strong workforce, business support services, location and leisure amenities, have attracted and fostered more than 18 million sq ft in expansions and $2.6 billion in investment, summarized in the following Business Growth Profile. (Selected projects meet one or more of the following criteria: at least $1 million investment, 20,000 additional sq ft, 50 additional jobs, a headquarters facility and/or WBC involvement).

Download and read the full report: 2012 Business Growth Profile