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The 2018 Jobs Outlook for Chicago

The 2018 Jobs Outlook for Chicago

Whether you’re a candidate looking for a new job in Chicago or a growing business in need of a recruitment agency, it’s important that your vision for the future is grounded in the realities facing your industry and the economy. Here we’ve gathered the most recent expectations for employment and hiring in Chicago through 2018:

A Drop in Chicago Unemployment

Unemployment in the Chicago metro area dipped to 4.9 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Security (IDES). This was down from 5.7 percent in October of 2016, and was the lowest unemployment rate the Chicago region has seen since it was 4.7 percent in October 2007.1

Chicago added 14,845 net jobs year-over-year between October 2016 and October 2017, with the greatest growth in the financial services sector, which added 7,115 jobs, followed by the educational and health services sector, which added 4,447 jobs.2

The Chicago metro area added 20,800 jobs last month, with gains in the finance, education and health, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities sectors. The greatest job declines occurred in the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors.3

Budget Woes Dampen Chicago Economy

Though the statewide unemployment rate dipped 1.1 percent between October 2016 and October 2017, only six of 14 metro markets across Illinois added jobs in October 2017.4 The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index—a barometer of growth rates for corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income—was at its lowest point in five years in October when it dipped 3 tenths of a point from September to 103.9. When the number is over 100, the Illinois economy is expanding; however, the low number indicates growth is lagging behind the rest of the country.5

Economic experts say long-term budgetary mismanagement of Chicago, it’s public schools, and the state of Illinois have dragged down the region’s economy.6 In July, however, Illinois lawmakers finally ended a two-year budget impasse when they adopted their first budget since 2015. As a result, Illinois narrowly avoided being the first state to receive a ‘junk’ credit rating from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services.7

Chicago Draws Multinational Companies

Though the Chicago economy has underperformed relative to the country, it has remained an attractive city for Illinois-based and global companies building new headquarters or regional hubs. Construction of new office towers is brisk in Chicago’s famous Loop and the fast-growing Fulton Market District. Construction machinery company, Caterpillar, is moving its corporate headquarters from Peoria, Illinois, to the Chicago suburb of Deerfield to be closer to the city and O’Hare Airport. By the middle of 2018, the office is expected to have 300 employees.8

McDonald’s is also relocating its longtime headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois to Chicago’s Fulton Market. On the former site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, the new $250 million, 9-story office building is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018. McDonald’s estimates the facility will have about 2,000 employees.9

Also in the spring of 2018, First Midwest Bancorp is moving its headquarters from the Chicago suburb of Itasca to Chicago’s W. Bryn Mawr Avenue. The parent company of First Midwest Bank will have about 300 workers at its new facility.10

Other companies moving their headquarters to Chicago are EXP, a Toronto-based architectural and engineering firm, Les Mills International, a New Zealand-based fitness company, and ItemMaster, a content creation company founded by the creators of the grocery delivery service, Peapod.11

Need assistance with your hiring? Contact Hudson.


1Lazare, Lewis. "Chicago Unemployment Rate Hits Low Not Seen In a Decade." Chicago Business Journal. Web. 27 Nov 2017.
2 "Chicago By the Numbers" World Business Chicago. Web. 28 Nov 2017.
3 Lazare, Lewis. "Chicago Unemployment Rate Hits Low Not Seen In a Decade." Chicago Business Journal. Web. 27 Nov 2017.
4 Ibid
5 Schultz, Mark. "Illinois Economy Lags Behind Nation." Web. Illinois Public Media News. 1 Nov 2017.
6 Ibid
7 Egan, Matt. "Illinois Finally Gets a Budget -- But It's Still In Big Financial Trouble." CNN, Money. Web. 7 July 2017.
8 Frillman, Carrie. "Caterpillar's Global HQ Coming to Deerfield Corporate Center." Patch. Web. 19 April 2017.
9 Bomkamp, Samantha. "Six Months to Go: A Peek Inside McDonald's New Near West Side Headquarters." The Chicago Tribune. Web. 3 Oct 2017.
10 Yerak, Becky. "First Midwest Bank Parent Moving HQ to Chicago." The Chicago Tribune. Web. 3 Jan 2017.
11 Rios, Courtney. "These Are All The Recent Company HQ Moves to Chicago." Urban Matter. Web. 3 Feb 2017.








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