What is the economic benefit of O’Hare Airport to the Chicago region?

Noise complaints may be up but local officials say O’Hare Airport has a big economic impact:

Chicago estimates O’Hare contributes more than $38 billion to the economy of the six counties and sustains about 450,000 jobs directly and indirectly. Airport expansion could generate an extra $18 billion and create 195,000 new jobs, the city projects.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a speech to the City Club in June, attributed recent economic successes to O’Hare and Midway International Airport. “Out of the 10 major metropolitan areas (in the U.S.) last year, Chicagoland had 12,000 businesses created,” Emanuel said. “That’s No. 2 in the United States.”

I’m guessing these statistics won’t quiet the critics of the new noise patterns yet it should remind the region’s residents how an airport might indirectly help them all beyond providing easier and cheaper access to points around the globe.

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