The Truth Behind Business Migration

The following is a letter to the editor from John Carpenter, President & CEO, Choose DuPage


Here we go again. A recent article published in the Daily Herald by Washington Post writer Jonathan O’Connell, “Suburbs left scrambling as McDonald’s, other firms relocate to big cities,” continues to spread the false narrative of business relocating to city centers for better opportunities.


The article focuses on McDonald’s decision in 2016 to leave Oak Brook for Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood to attract a younger workforce and integrate better uses of technology. In truth, this migration should be seen for what it really is — a cost-cutting measure. While companies moving downtown will pay more per square foot for the smaller real estate, due to the reduced head count and benefit incentives, savings are realized.


Despite the misleading headlines, the western suburbs of Chicago are alive and well. DuPage County maintains the lowest unemployment rate in the Chicago region, as it has consistently for years and we are confident our skilled and educated workforce will fuel our growing business sector for years to come. We are excited for this opportunity to attract new residents and businesses to an impressive Oak Brook complex with a supersized opportunity in DuPage County.



Mid-Year Review Shows Continued Strong Economic Indicators for DuPage County

DuPage County continues to boast lowest unemployment and lowest industrial vacancy rates in the region


Choose DuPage has released its 2017 Second Quarter Economic Indicators Report, showing continued success for business and industry in DuPage County during the first half of 2017. Maintaining the lowest unemployment rates in the region at just 3.3 percent, DuPage County’s skilled and educated workforce continue to present opportunities for job creators and entrepreneurs seeking to build, expand operations in the county.  Data suggests DuPage County offers a business-friendly environment for a variety of industry sectors while the state and surrounding communities continue to navigate struggles with high taxes, pension challenges and a hostile business climate. 


2017 Mid-Year Highlights:


  • DuPage County continues to maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the Chicagoland six-county region at 3.3 percent, lower than both Illinois (4.3 percent) and United States (4.1percent).
  • DuPage County‘s current top job opportunities include positions in computers and mathematics, management, office and administrative support, sales, healthcare practitioners, business and finance, and transportation.
  • Industrial vacancy rates remain steady at 5.4%; DuPage County continues to have the lowest industrial vacancy rate in the region.
  • Sales tax receipts increased by 1.3% compared to the same time last year growing from $314M to $318M indicating consumer spending habits remain strong in DuPage County.


“DuPage office vacancy rates have held steady around 16-17 percent in 2017, with industrial vacancy rates running around 5.4 percent – the lowest industrial vacancy rate in the region,” said John Carpenter, president and CEO of Choose DuPage. “Our low taxes and operating costs, strong labor demographics, proximity to hotels and dining, as well as shopping, golf and recreational activities are just a few of the benefits our community provides to businesses considering opportunities in DuPage.”


In addition to domestic company growth and expansions in DuPage, working closely with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Intersect Illinois, DuPage County has also expanded its global footprint with international businesses seeking to relocate, or expand operations, in the United States. Currently, roughly 800 foreign-based firms representing 40 countries are located in DuPage County providing workforce opportunities throughout the region.


DuPage County has consistently maintained the lowest unemployment rate in the Chicagoland region and boasts an AAA bond rating due to its strong economy, fiscal management and healthy budgetary performance. For all these reasons and more, DuPage continues to maintain a solid, thriving economy.


The Choose DuPage 2017 Second Quarter Economic Indicators Report can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.