Located in the center of the United States, Illinois is a premier location for a wide range of businesses across diverse industries. There are a few key reasons why Illinois is an ideal location for growth. The state is home to a highly educated talent pool. It is also a global transportation hub, with the highest concentration of transportation and logistics companies in the nation. With 72,000 of the nation’s top farms covering nearly 76 percent of its total land area, Illinois boasts a thriving agricultural sector. And, the state is home to industry-changing companies across sectors such as technology, manufacturing and life sciences.
In October of 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker released the state’s Plan to Revitalize the Illinois Economy and Build the Workforce of the Future. The plan builds upon the state’s many strengths, in order to develop an economy that crates jobs and expands prosperity to communities across the entire state.
Already, the administration has taken action to advance the economy and benefit residents and employers throughout the state. Some of these actions include:
- Infrastructure: Passing the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, a historic $45 billion investment in creating jobs, fixing infrastructure and constructing projects that are essential to the state’s economic future.
- Workforce: Increasing scholarship programs allowing more Illinois students to attend college, implementing a new Illinois Works Jobs program which helps build a diverse pipeline of workers in the construction and building trades, expanding apprenticeship models and implementing a new Apprenticeship Tax Credit.
- Industries: Creating a new Data Center Tax Credit to help spur innovation in tech and manufacturing; legalizing production of cannabis, creating a new industry and opportunity for Illinois farmers; extending the Research & Development Tax Credit to help the tech and manufacturing industries.
The state is working to build on strong industries including agribusiness and ag tech, energy, information technology, life sciences and healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics and small business in order to create additional growth and accelerate the economy.
In doing so, it will utilize assets including:
- Workforce: Illinois is home to a highly productive workforce, the largest and most productive in the Midwest. Illinois workers generate $81 in economic output per hour worked, putting them in the top 10 in the country by productivity. One-third of Illinois’ residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Higher Education: Illinois has more than 200 higher education institutions including two of the top 10 universities in the nation, two of the top 20 engineering programs, two of the top 10 business schools and two of the top 25 medical schools. Illinois schools produce 10 percent of the nation’s computer scientists and graduate more engineers than MIT, Stanford and Caltech combined. Its nine statewide public universities and 50 community colleges provide diverse educational and research experience throughout the entire state. The state’s higher education institutions are also the fourth-largest producer of MBAs, and produce cutting-edge breakthroughs in medicine, engineering and technology.
- Transportation and Infrastructure: With five international airports, seven Class I railroads, the third largest interstate highway system in the country and the third largest intermodal port in the world, Illinois offers unparalleled access to global markets. The state’s central location puts businesses, people and goods within a four-hour flight of the entire North American market. The state provides non-stop service to more than 50 international destinations. Illinois has the highest share of employment in transportation, logistics and warehouse of any state in the nation; its location and accessibility to customers are cited as key reasons companies locate and expand in the state.
- Agriculture: Illinois is rich in natural resources that support a diverse agricultural industry. The state leads in soybean and corn production. In addition to its agricultural prowess, Illinois boasts unrivaled expertise in food processing, ranking #1 in the U.S. with $180 billion in processed food sales; some of the world’s most well-known food producers are based in Illinois. The state also boasts more patents in food-related industries than any other state in the nation (more than many countries).
These key assets are only some of the reasons that companies continue relocate and expand in Illinois, some examples include:
- Carl Buddig and Company, the 75-year-old manufacturer and distributor of lunch meat products, expanded its production centers with the acquisition of an additional manufacturing facility. The company’s fourth manufacturing site in Illinois, the 280,000-square-foot facility expansion will bring the company’s workforce to more than 1,800 employees.
- Entara Corporation plans to expand operations at its existing Chicago facility in order to expand its IT managed service provider offerings. The project will result in an approximate 20 percent increase from current staffing levels.
- Ruggable manufactures and distributes a patented two-part washable rug. The company plans a new 130,000-square-foot production facility in Bedford Park, resulting in the creation of 175 new jobs.
- Uber opened its new Freight headquarters in Chicago's Old Main Post Office, which will bring more than 2,000 jobs and $200 million annually in workforce and real estate investments to the Chicago area. The decision builds on the city's growing reputation as an international transportation hub and a hotspot for global innovation.
- Vactor Manufacturing, Inc. recently broke ground on a new product line at its existing facility in Streator, Illinois. The expansion will allow the manufacturer to develop hydro-excavation machines and will result in the creation of 90 new jobs.
Companies that locate and expand in Illinois are continuing to thrive. To learn more about Illinois’ advantages visit www.intersectillinois.org.