Manufacturing jobs booming in Chicago

The Windy City, The City of Big Shoulders, The Second City – Chicago has gone by a lot of names in its history, and along with those titles of distinction, one label that has never disappeared from the city's CV is "jobs creator." From the South Side stockyards in the city's heyday of the meatpacking industry to the professional and business service positions that built up the city's financial district today, jobs have long been a focus in the city. Chicago has been known as a large employer for some time, and its reputation will likely remain the same, as a recent report found manufacturing jobs in the Midwest hub are booming, putting both manufacturing recruiters and Chicago recruiters in high demand for local firms.

Largest jobs growth in the nation
A recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED) found the number of manufacturing jobs in the city grew faster during the past three years than the national average, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Crain's reported that from 2010 through the third quarter of 2012, manufacturing employment rose 5 percent in the Chicago metro area and only 4 percent nationwide. While the manufacturing sector in Chicago is creating jobs at a consistent rate, study author Howard Wial cautioned the city should not get carried away with the good news.

"I think we need to be realistic even as we are being aspirational," Wial, executive director for the CUED, told Crain's. "We need to build off of what we have."

According to the report, Chicago can build off jobs growth in "moderately high-technology" industries, which are fields with the fastest-growing employment levels in the city. Crain's noted transportation equipment, auto machinery, electrical equipment and appliances were high-growth industries for jobs. Firms in those disciplines can work with Chicago recruiters to find quality talent to bring their operations to the next level.

Fabricated metal products lead employment
The study used information from Moody's Analytics and analyzed 14 counties in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin that constitute the greater Chicagoland area. The report found the greatest proportion of Chicago manufacturing jobs (47 percent) were located in suburban Cook county.

With roughly 66,000 positions, fabricated metal products made up 16 percent of area manufacturing employment. Food manufacturing was the second-largest sector with 12 percent of area jobs and 48,000 positions; Crain's noted it was also the largest sector for employment in the city of Chicago itself.

Overall, in 2011, the Chicago metro area had around 411,000 manufacturing jobs – surpassed only by Los Angeles. Since 2010, Crain's said the city has gained some 20,000 manufacturing jobs..

Across the nation, manufacturing is a crucial jobs creator; nowhere else is that sentiment more true than in Chicago. Employers looking to find new employees can work with Chicago and manufacturing recruiters to hone their talent searches

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