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OVERVIEW

The Chicago metropolitan area is ranked #1 Metro for New and Expanded Companies and is among the World’s Top 10 Most Competitive Cities for Business. Companies choose to locate in the region for its tremendous talent, central location, and economic strength as a global headquarters hub.

31 Fortune 500 companies are located in the region, and nearly 40 companies have relocated their headquarters to the region since 2011. GE Healthcare recently announced plans to relocate its base from the United Kingdom to the Chicago area, where its life sciences and information technology businesses already have a presence. Company officials cited the region’s proximity to top customer markets, hub for travel, strong healthcare sector, and numerous knowledge institutions as key reasons for the move.

The Northeast region’s central location offers easy access to global operations, with the third largest intermodal port in the world and a triple-hub passenger air system that has the most flights in the U.S., with flight times of four hours or less to all North American destinations.

The region’s natural and built assets attract a diverse cohort of companies from a growing cluster of technology startups, to life sciences and bio-pharma, to agribusiness and food processing.

Stellar educational institutions - including two of the world's top business schools - cultivate a steady stream of talent, and the region is recognized for being the #1 Metro for Big Ten Alumni and the #1 City for Recent Grads. The region’s well-educated, hard-working, and highly-skilled workforce also leads the nation in productivity.

Operating in Northeast Illinois gives companies access to an ecosystem of innovators that includes leading science and engineering labs such as Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, as well as incubators and accelerators for entrepreneurs developing next-generation technologies such as 1871, MATTER, and UI LABS. Illinois enjoys a rich legacy of innovation that has brought inventions such as the cell phone, the ultrasound, LED technology, and the first web browser to the marketplace. In the Northeast region alone, 275 digital startups are launched annually, and nearly 55,000 people work for digital companies.

The Northeast region is home to one of the largest and the most diverse economies in the nation. Over two-thirds of the state’s manufacturers operate over 10,000 manufacturing facilities in the region. Chicago is also home to many of the world’s leading stock exchanges, including, the Chicago Board of Trade, the Mercantile Exchange, and the Board of Options, making the Chicago area a leader in the financial services industry. By the year 2020, it is estimated that 1.2 million new jobs will be established in the region.

TARGET INDUSTRIES

The Northeast regions’ powerful economy and unequaled access to North American, and global markets via road, rail, air and navigable waterways, has helped make it the third largest container hub in the world.  The Northeast regional economy is healthy, diverse, and vibrant, with a wide range of successful industries.  Over two-thirds of the state’s manufacturers are located in the Northeastern Region, with over 10,000 manufacturing facilities. Top manufacturing sectors by employment include:

  • Fabricated metal products
  • Food manufacturing
  • Machinery

Northeast Fortune 500 headquarters and business expansions include: Navistar International, United Air Lines, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., Astella Pharma US, Inc., U.S. Foods, Inc., Edward Don Company, Motorola Mobility, Inc., and Dover Corporation.

The Northeast Region is in close proximity to North America's largest inland port, the Centerpoint Intermodal Center, which provides direct access to the BNSF logistics park and the Union Pacific Joliet Intermodal Terminal. This region is also accessible to the 52 railroads in Illinois which makes this area the nation's largest rail gateway providing access to every state in the continental U.S. Chicago is the only U.S. gateway where all six major Class-One North American railroads can interchange traffic.

The Northeast is also home to The Illinois Medical District (IMD).  The IMD is made up of over 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, and two universities, all conveniently located.

The IMD is anchored by four major hospitals:

  • Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County
  • The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

With a mission to be a leader in patient care and medical research, The Illinois Medical District Commission (IMDC) fosters economic growth of the IMD partners by supporting healthcare, research, program, technology commercialization and real estate development initiatives.   

HIGHER EDUCATION

The Northeast region is home to several stellar educational institutions - including two of the world's top business schools.

The University of Chicago, a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Established in 1890, the University of Chicago consists of various graduate programs, interdisciplinary committees organized into four academic research divisions and seven professional schools.

Northwestern University (NU) also a private research university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago in Illinois, United States, as well as Doha, Qatar. NU is composed of twelve schools and colleges, and offers 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees

Both universities cultivate a steady stream of talent, and the region is recognized for being the #1 Metro for Big Ten Alumni and the #1 City for Recent Grads. The region’s well-educated, hard-working, and highly-skilled workforce also leads the nation in productivity.  

EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

Click here to learn more about this region’s population statistics, local workforce area and community college district boundaries and locations, demographics (such as percentage of veterans, household income, educational attainment, and poverty   level), employment projections by industry, and community college graduates by  career cluster.

REGION SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE

Michelle Michals
312.636.4555
Michelle.michals@illinois.gov
Counties:  DeKalb, Du Page, Grundy, Kane, Kendall

Bob Anderson
312.814.7129
Robert.anderson@illinois.gov
Counties:  Cook, Kankakee, Will

Antonio Baxton
312.814.3548
Antonio.baxton@illinois.gov
Counties:  Cook, Lake

Carrie Zethmayr
312.771.8638
Carrie.zethmayr@illinois.gov
Counties:  McHenry

Joe McKeown
312.814.1457
Joseph.mckeown@illinois.gov
Counties:  Cook, DeKalb, Du Page, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Will

The Illinois Department of Commerce is Your One-Stop Resource

  • Intergovernmental Coordination
  • Technical Assistance with Site Selection
  • Regional Collaboration with Key Stakeholders
  • Assistance Eliminating Governmental Red Tape
  • Custom Workforce Training
  • Expedited Permitting, Licensing & Other Approvals
  • Connection to Civic & Business Partners
  • Potential Financial Support
  • And More!