Like the rest of the United States, the economy in Chicago eased back on growth numbers during the first quarter. However, Chicago continues to attract technology companies, who recently committed to creating 1,000 new jobs by the end of 2015.
Chicago, Illinois, May 5 2015: Even though the local economy slipped in the first quarter of 2015 – following the lead of the rest of the United States – it is still likely to be ahead come the end of 2015, according to analysis by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
While growth at both the local and national level remains below trend, the first quarter outcome in Chicago is considered poorer, because it accompanied a small rise in the unemployment rate and worse than expected numbers from the non-durable goods and services sectors. However, in terms of outcomes among America’s largest cities, Chicago has ticked up a position to 18 out of 20.
Not all employers are pessimistic about Chicago’s prospects, however. At a recent visit to the Michelle Clark High School, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to announce that Chicago’s tech companies have committed to providing a further 1,000 jobs by the end of 2015.
The Mayor said, “The commitment by these companies speaks to Chicago’s growing strength as a hub for the high-paying, high-skilled jobs of the 21st century and will help to ensure that residents in every neighborhood can participate in our growing tech economy. These companies see the educated workforce we have today, but also the investments we are making in STEM education, to build a great tech workforce for tomorrow.”
Michelle Clark School has partnered with Cisco, and every student enrolls in at least one computer science class each year.
This kind of foresight and commitment, with education partnered by technology companies, has helped Chicago become a hub for the technology industry, which is likely to be an important driver of local economic growth in the years and decades to come. In 2014, Chicago’s tech companies generated more than $1.5 billion in investment, and $7 billion in exits.
Even though the present jobs market is slow in Chicago, the future for a highly educated, technology-minded workforce looks bright, and that will strengthen all sectors of the economy, especially property development and investment as workers are encouraged to move to Chicago.