Message from the Director of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

As we bring 2013 to a close, I would like to take a moment to review DCEO’s successes and reiterate our continued commitment to creating jobs and economic opportunities for all Illinoisans. Early this year, Illinois was ranked the fifth best location in the nation for corporate expansion by Site Selection Magazine, one of the most prestigious and notable publications of its kind.  Topping that was Chicago, landing the #1 spot in the nation for Foreign Direct Investment, while Illinois continues to be the number one state in the Midwest for exports.  And 2013 was a year for new records. Illinois’ film and tourism industries both announced record breaking revenue and job creation numbers. Coal exports also reported record numbers and the State’s innovative capital access program Advantage Illinois reached new heights by helping small businesses create nearly 2,000 jobs while leveraging over $400 million in private capital. 2013 was also a year of renewed focus on the innovation economy and building on the vital energy and momentum of our startups, research institutions, and talented workforce.  Human capital is essential to innovation and in 2013 DCEO announced a $12 million investment in workforce training for manufacturers. At the same time, Illinois currently ranks 4th nationwide for total number of tech establishments at over 20,000 and we capped the year’s emphasis on tech-related initiatives with the launch of the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, a signal of Governor Quinn’s intent to keep us on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing technologies. Since the recovery began in January 2010, Illinois has gained over 270,000 private sector jobs. We have experienced seven straight months of positive job creation and nearly 40,000 new private sector jobs were created in the last three months alone.  There is more work to be done but 2013 has provided us with a strong foundation and we are dedicated to bringing the same success to the start of 2014 and beyond. Illinois is moving forward. Our diverse economy, premier logistics network, skilled workforce and entrepreneurial spirit are second to none – it truly is a great place to live and work. Thank you for all that we achieved in 2013. I look forward to continued and greater success in 2014. Have a safe and happy new year. Sincerely, Adam Pollet, Director, DCEO