Economy of Chicago


One of the predominate images of Chicago is one of a city that works. Hard work has helped to shape the city's character and is an important element of its communal history. The labor force has undergone mass transformations in the industries that thrive here as well as the organization of work itself.

Chicago's first economy was driven by the process of trade and depended on the development of transportation. The city's development of industry progressed from 1870 to 1930 in which Chicago gained additional nicknames of “Hog Butcher for the World” and “City of the Big Shoulders”. Construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal as well as the railroads in the 19th century helped move goods and confirmed the city's excellence in transportation. Small-town job seekers were led to the big city. Immigrant workers from Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia came first, followed by Southern and Eastern Europeans. World War I brought large numbers of African Americans from the South and after 1965 Latinos and Asians joined the area's economy.

Chicago's vibrant economy continues to diversify and is one of the most balanced in the United States as well as the third largest in the nation. The economy brings in approximately $442 billion according to 2007 estimations. In 2006, Chicago was even ranked 10th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities. Chicago also hosts the third most conventions in the US, many at its huge convention center McCormick Place. Chicago is also home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, 12 Fortune Global 500 companies, and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. One of its largest coups is the headquarter move of aerospace giant Boeing from Seattle the Chicago Loop in 2001. The Chicago Board of Trade is the largest agricultural futures market in the world. Manufacturing also plays a large part in the economy with 20% of the city's employees working for a manufacturer. Some of the other major businesses are: printing, publishing, metal, electronics, tourism, finance. General Electric, Morton Salt, Quaker Oats Company, Playboy Enterprises, Tootsie Roll Industries and True Value are some of the most recognizable companies.

Update 16/05/2008

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