Chicago named top metro area for business location

For the second straight year, Site Selection picked the Chicago metropolitan area as its top metro of the year:

In fact, 385 companies either expanded or located in Chicago in 2014, resulting in the city being named Site Selection’s Top Metro in the US for the second straight year. The consecutive wins are a pleasant endorsement, says Jeff Malehorn, president and CEO of World Business Chicago…

Chicago’s appeal is hardly surprising. The city’s boasts outstanding transportation and logistical assets, including two international airports, a rail hub and seaport, and stands at the crossroads of major Interstates. Chicago and the region are home to a wealth of talent educated at some of the nation’s premier colleges and universities. Foreign companies looking for a US home are drawn to the city’s diverse ethnic population. “Any company outside the US can look to Chicago and see a home,” says Malehorn.

Project highlights for Chicago in 2014 include:

  • Valence Health — a health services company based in Chicago adding 500 jobs over the next five years;
  • Yelp — the online review and advertising site based in San Francisco, Calif., is opening an office in Chicago and plans to hire 300 employees;
  • Braintree — the global payments platform expanded into a 65,000-sq.-ft. (6,000-sq.-m.) headquarters on the eighth floor of the Merchandise Mart. The company is adding 360 new jobs by 2017.
  • ADM — the food services company opened its new global headquarters in downtown Chicago in August 2014…

In figures released in January, Chicago posted its lowest unemployment rate since April 2008, 6.2 percent. The number of city residents employed in December 2014 increased by more than 38,000. The jobs were mostly attributed to professional and business services, education and health service and transportation and warehousing. Malehorn says diversity is a theme in Chicago’s growth, but so is innovation and disruption.

I wonder how the city’s critics would respond. Even with a perilous budget, state issues, Chicago corruption, and cold weather, Chicago continues to be a desirable site for business. They might say that this all happens in spite of the problems..but how would we know? Regardless, this is another piece of evidence that Chicago deserves its lofty ranking among the top global cities in the world.

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