Job Outlook: Chicago, IL

Chicago is sometimes called "The city that works." The nation's third largest city has a population of 9.3 million, and a diverse base of employment. Chicago is home to some of the world's largest companies, with the metropolitan area headquartering 33 of the Fortune 500 firms, according to

Chicago, one of the country's largest transportation hubs, is a center for rail, ship, truck, and air transportation. Chicago hosts the second largest financial market in the US, and is home to a large and growing biotechnology & life sciences industry. Chicago has been known for decades as a major player in the printing, publishing, food processing, and manufacturing industries.

Unemployment Rate of the Chicago Metro Area:

The unemployment rate was 8.7% in the Chicago metropolitan area according to April 2011 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics April 2011 report.

Top Industries in the Chicago Metro Area:

Fastest-growing industries in the Chicago metro area are:

Best-paying industries in the Chicago metro area are:

Top employers in the Chicago Metro Area*:
  1. Government – Government is the Chicago's top employer, with the US Government, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois employing over 200,000 people in the Chicago area.

  2. Wal-Mart – Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer employs over 23,000 people in the Chicago area at over 50 stores in the Chicago metropolitan area.

  3. Advocate Health Care – Advocate Health Care, named one of the top 10 Health Systems by Reuters Thompson, operates more than 200 sites of care across the metropolitan Chicago area, nine acute care hospitals, two children's hospital centers, four trauma centers, and a home health care company.

  4. Walgreens – Walgreens is the nation's largest operator of pharmacies, employing retail workers, pharmacy professionals, on-site clinical professionals, as well as thousands of corporate positions.

  5. AT&T – AT&T, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, employs thousands of Chicago area workers. Chicago area employees manage the company's regional land line, data, wireless networks, as well as the company's advanced IP, networking, home entertainment, local and long distance services.

  6. United Airlines – United Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world directs an estimated 3,300 daily flights to over 200 worldwide cities.

  7. Abbott Labs – Abbott Labs is one of the largest global health care and biotechnology companies. Ranked 15th on Barron's most respected company list, Abbott makes and markets products ranging from laboratory diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, to nutritional products.

  8. JPMorgan Chase – JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest banks in the US, is one of the Chicago area's largest employers. JPMorgan Chase operates over 320 banks and branches in the Chicago metropolitan area.

  9. Motorola – Motorola is the Chicago area's largest technology company, as one of the nation's most comprehensive manufacturers of communication devices. Motorola produces wireless phones, home networks, entertainment networks, and voice/data communications for private networks.

  10. Jewel-Osco – Owned by Super-Valu stores, Jewel is the Chicago metropolitan area's largest chain of grocery stores. Osco is one of the Chicago area's largest pharmacy chains, primarily located as in-store facilities within Jewel stores.

Top Chicago area jobs in need of workers:

Chicago metropolitan area attitudes and employment outlook:

The Chicago area is projected to grow below the national average through 2025, at a rate of 8.9% based on the report published by Chicago employment's story has been one of steady growth, rather than boom and bust. The Chicago area has strong employment diversity between the government, manufacturing, technology, health care, education, transportation, financial and biotechnology sectors.

-- Find jobs in Chicago, Ill.

* From Crain's Chicago Business

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