Business leaders gather to hear economic and business outlooks at the 13th Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event

DuPage County Regional Business Outlook

More than 600 of the region’s top business and civic leaders gathered Thursday, June 8, 2023, at the 13th Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event held at the Drury Lane. Under the theme Stronger Together, the event shared actionable insights and valuable perspectives on the evolving business climate and how the community can work together for a better tomorrow. 

Deborah Conroy, Chair of the DuPage County Board welcomed the group and provided a local snapshot of the DuPage economy. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we are fortunate in DuPage County. Our revenue streams remain strong. Our budget is balanced. Our reserves are healthy, and people have returned to work. I am committed to partnering with the private sector and our business community to ensure that DuPage County continues to lead the state as a premier destination.”

Cara Esser, CFA, Managing Director, Research and Portfolio Management, Retirement Advisory Services for Mesirow returned for the third year to deliver the Global Economic Outlook.

“Despite ongoing uncertainty regarding the current state of the U.S. economy, the U.S. equity market remains strong, and bond yield are higher than they’ve been in years,” said Esser. “This is especially encouraging to retirees who need stable income generation. Compared to peer nations, the U.S. doesn’t look too bad: unemployment is low, inflation is falling, housing has been holding steady and consumer demand remains robust.”

Tim Crane, President & CEO of Wintrust Financial Corp. echoed some of these perspectives in his Business Outlook, where he shared insights into how these economic trends and other factors are impacting the business community.

“The Chicago economy remains quite strong, particularly the demand for labor. Unless the labor market slows, the Fed may need to continue to raise rates in the second half of 2023,” said Crane. On the topic of bank failures, Crane said, “Most banks, certainly the regional banks like Wintrust, are very safe. One of the key lessons on the recent failures is the speed and impact that social media can have on our businesses. Information (accurate or not) gets disseminated very quickly and has become a topic that all management teams must address as part of running their businesses.”

Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO of World Business Chicago spoke about the importance of regional collaboration and cooperation with respect to business attraction and retention. He provided an overview of the newly created Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership (GCEP), an initiative including the city of Chicago and seven collar counties, to promote economic opportunities on a national and international scale. In his remarks, Fassnacht outlined the support of World Business Chicago, the city of Chicago’s economic development agency, and stated that working together to support Chicagoland as a region is the best path forward for real economic growth.

The annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook event, hosted by Choose DuPage, Ice Miller LLP, and Mesirow, brings together DuPage County’s business owners and executives, government and education leaders and other members of the local business community to gain key insights about the current regional and national economic landscape, as well as to discuss best practices and growing potential in today’s economy.

Watch the event here:

Pictured in photo above, from left to right: Tim Crane, President & CEO, Wintrust Financial Corp.; Greg Bedalov, President & CEO, Choose DuPage; Ryanne Dent, Office Managing Partner, Ice Miller LLP; The Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair; Natalie Brown, CEO, Mesirow; Cara Esser CFA, Managing Director, Research and Portfolio Management, Retirement Advisory Services, Mesirow; Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago.

About Choose DuPage

Choose DuPage is the regional economic development organization for DuPage County, Illinois. A public/private partnership, Choose DuPage is dedicated to advancing DuPage County as a premier global business location. Geographically desirable, with a highly skilled labor force, DuPage County offers a diverse economy, friendly business climate, and substantial transportation network. Choose DuPage leverages these benefits to retain and attract business, support local economic development efforts, and address policy issues critical to the needs of business.

About Ice Miller LLP

Ice Miller LLP is a full-service law firm dedicated to helping our clients stay ahead of a changing world. With over 350 legal professionals in seven offices, we advise clients on all aspects of complex legal issues impacting businesses each day. We serve emerging growth companies, FORTUNE 500 corporations, municipal entities and nonprofits.

About Mesirow

Mesirow is an independent, employee-owned financial services firm founded in 1937. Headquartered in Chicago, with offices around the world, we serve clients through a personal, custom approach to reaching financial goals and acting as a force for social good. With capabilities spanning Global Investment Management, Capital Markets & Investment Banking, and Advisory Services, we invest in what matters: our clients, our communities, and our culture.