Why Chicago

Diverse Economy

Chicago has one of the world's largest and most diversified economies, with nearly 4.3 million employees and a gross regional product (GRP) of more than $500 billion. It is an efficient economic powerhouse that is home to more than 400 major corporate headquarters, including 29 Fortune 500 headquarters. Among the most diverse economies in the nation, Chicago is a key player in every sector from risk management innovation to manufacturing to information technology to health services.


Trading Post

The most distinctive aspect of Chicago's financial services community is also among its oldest. The city's derivatives exchange community, which started with commodity futures trading at the Chicago Board of Trade in 1848, established the city as a global financial center. To this day, even though the trading of derivatives is conducted on an ever-expanding international scale, Chicago arguably remains the geographic center of global derivatives trading – in terms of markets, scale and talent.

  • Over $4 billion in global derivatives trading volume, 20% greater trading volume than New York.
  • Chicago-based Options Clearing Corporation clears all US options contracts – a record 4.6 billion in 2011
  • Chicago futures and options exchanges collectively dominate exchange-based derivatives trading, with 50% of exchange-based derivatives trading in the U.S.
  • Chicago accounts for 16% of the global derivatives trading market; more than New York (13%), and nearly as much as all exchanges in Europe (20%)

Green Economy

Chicago has long been a leader in sustainable business, underscoring a commitment to be the greenest city in America. Chicago continuously ranks as one of the most sustainable cities in the country, with more LEED registered and certified buildings than any other city, 18 wind energy companies (and growing), a Top 5 Metro rating for the number of Energy Star rated buildings, and an incomparable workforce - including more than 2,600 LEED credentialed employees. Combined with cutting edge R&D and wide-ranging incentives, Chicago is an ideal location for green companies to locate and grow.

Growing Economy

Chicago continues to grow: total trade reached $177 billion in 2011 (up from $133 billion in 2007). Chicago is top-ranked for economic potential among major cities across the world, and in 2011, World Business Chicago identified more than 300 new & expanding facilities announced, under development or completed in the metro area, representing a total of more than 18 million square feet (up from 14 million in 2010) and $2.6 billion in economic development activity (up from $2 billion in 2010). In 2011, Inc. Magazine included 212 companies from the Chicago region in its annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S., placing Chicago 3rd among metro regions for number of jobs created by 'Inc. 5000' companies; the city itself was represented by 84 companies on the list.

Centrally located, Chicago provides easy access to the world. The city has 2,900 daily flights including direct and nonstop service to more than 200 cities worldwide, and serves as a hub for all six Class-One North American railroads, as well as six major U.S. Interstates.

Chicago is a leader in a number of key industries including: Business & Financial Services, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Health Services, and Transportation & Distribution, and is a global leader in options, futures, and derivatives trading.

This combination of market access and economic diversity provides the resources a company needs to flourish. Alongside Chicago's pro-business environment, support services, and unique opportunities for growth, the city also offers a vibrant mix of cultural, educational, and social amenities.

As Big as a Country

  • More than $500 billion gross regional product (GRP), larger than countries like Belgium and Norway
  • 9.5 million people, 4.3 million employees, and over 260,000 businesses

Global and Diverse Economy

  • 400+ Major Corporate Headquarters
  • 30 S&P 500 companies
  • 29 Fortune 500 HQs, including 6 in the City
  • 9 FT Global 500 HQs
  • 10 Fortune Global 500 HQs

The World's Workforce

  • Culturally diverse private-sector labor force of 4.3 million people
  • At least 30 ethnic groups with a population greater than 25,000
  • 1,500 foreign-owned firms in Chicago area

Center of the World

  • At the center of one of the largest trading areas in the world: the east-west nexus joining the markets of Europe and Asia and the north-south nexus of NAFTA
  • Chicago's location, central time zone and non-stop passenger service means that you can fly to nearly any U.S. city and return on the same business day
  • Less than 10 hours from the major European business centers
  • A non-stop global gateway to more than 50 international and 150 domestic business centers, with daily non-stops to Japan, Korea and China
  • Only U.S. gateway where all six Class-One railroads interchange traffic - CREATE projects are underway to increase freight and passenger rail efficiency in Chicago
  • Nearly 150 intermodal facilities across the region – 41 in the city (more than half of area real estate is devoted to warehouse/distribution)
  • Leading advanced telecommunications infrastructure supports interconnected regional, national and international networks

The Good Life

  • Affordable cosmopolitan metropolis
  • 80 miles (129 km) of public shoreline and 94 vacation beaches
  • Outstanding public, private and parochial schools
  • More Five-Diamond-rated restaurants than any other city in the U.S.
  • 1 Michelin Guide 3-Star restaurant of 10 in North America
  • The only U.S. city with four Tony awarding winning theater companies
  • 30,000+ hotel rooms at properties including two of the world's Top 10 hotels

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