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2018 Midyear Chicago Jobs Outlook

Whether you’re a candidate looking for a new job 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 for the remainder of 2018:

Robust Job Growth

The rate of employment growth in the greater Chicago metropolitan area was 0.7 percent between February 2017 and February 2018, compared with 1.6 percent employment growth nationally. (The rate is for nonfarm employment, a key US Department of Labor statistic that doesn’t include farm, non-profit, and military employment.) The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights area—where 80 percent of the region’s workforce is employed—added 18,700 jobs during the same time period.1

Government roles accounted for the largest growth in employment, with the addition of 10,100 jobs, followed by financial activities with 7,000 jobs added, education and health services with 5,500 jobs added, and manufacturing with 5,400 jobs added. Employment in the professional and business services grew by 3,700 jobs, and construction grew by 3,500 jobs. The information, and leisure and hospitality supersectors lost 4,800 and 1,900 positions, respectively.2

Since the Great Recession, the City of Chicago outperformed surrounding suburbs and the nation in private-sector job gains, with an increase of 16.6 percent from 2010 through 2017. Private-sector employment grew 15.7 percent nationally during the same period, and by only 7.5 percent in suburban Cook County. Chicago is at its highest level of private-sector employment since 1991.3

The unemployment rate in Illinois dropped to 4.6 percent in March—its lowest level since March of 2007. The statewide unemployment rate exceeds the national rate of 4.1 percent.4

As of July 1, the minimum wage in Chicago rose to $12 per hour as part of a city ordinance proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and passed by the city council in 2014. The minimum wage will go up to $13 per hour in 2019 and, beginning in 2020, it will increase annually up to 2.5 percent based on the rate of inflation.5

According to the online career and jobs site, Monster, Chicago is the fifth top city for finding a job in the US in 2018. The ranking is based on an analysis of the job postings on its site.6

Logistics and Tech: Expanding and Hiring

As Americans increase their online retail shopping, the Chicago region is boosting its logistics hiring, specifically in technical and engineering jobs. Chicago is the largest railway hub in the US and many train companies, including Union Pacific, are offering incentives to draw talent because low national unemployment has made hiring difficult. Third-party logistics and logistics tech companies are also booming in Chicago as businesses work to get products to customers quickly, efficiently, and affordably. The logistics tech firm, BlueGrace, is moving into new offices in the landmark Board of Trade Building and adding 80 new positions to the region.7

Tech giants Facebook and Google recently announced plans to expand their existing workspaces in Chicago, with Facebook leasing more than 200,000 additional square feet, and Google adding 100,000 square feet.8 Chicago is among the 20 final cities in the highly competitive bid to become the site of Amazon’s second North American headquarters. The city also just accepted a bid from Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build The Chicago Express Loop, a high-speed underground transportation system that will transport passengers between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport.


1 Chicago Area Employment — February 2018. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor. Web. 5 April 2018.
2 Ibid
3 Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. “Private-sector Jobs in Chicago Reach 25-year High.” The Chicago Tribune. Web. 3 January 2018.
4 “Illinois Unemployment Levels Hit Lowest Point in a Decade.” Chicago CBS Local. Web. 20 April 2018.
5 Raymond, Marcella and Espana, Melissa. “Chicago’s Minimum Wage Increases to $12.” WGN9. Web. 1 July 2018.
6 Martis, Lily. “Monster’s 2018 Midyear Jobs Report.” Monster. Web. Accessed. 3 July 2018.
7 Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. “Overwhelmed by Freight Loads, Railroads Offer Hefty Hiring Incentives to Fill Jobs.” The Chicago Tribune. Web. 3 July 2018.
8 Ori, Ryan. “Tech Behemoths Facebook, Google Planning Big Chicago Office Expansions.” The Chicago Tribune. Web. 1 June 2018.

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