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Chicago Economy

Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the nation – approximately $440 billion according to 2007 estimates. The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for six of the past seven years. In 2008, Chicago placed 16th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities.

The central downtown area has experienced a resurgence in recent years with construction of major new condominium and Class A office buildings. These include the 92-story Trump Tower Chicago, Lakeshore East development, the 300 North Lasalle office building, and the 150-story 2000 foot Chicago Spire by famed architect Santiago Calatrava. The Spire will be the second tallest building in the world. Many city neighbourhoods are gentrifying at a rapid pace as well, including Logan Square, Pilsen, Uptown, Near Southside, and Rogers Park. The massive expansion of O'Hare International Airport and reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expressway are also underway and will shape development patters for years to come.

Chicago is a major world financial centre, with the second largest central business district in the US. The city is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city is also home to three major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which includes the former Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Perhaps due to the influence of the Chicago school of economics, the city also has markets trading unusual contracts such as emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) and equity style indices (on the US Futures Exchange).

The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are home to the second largest labour pool in the US with approximately 4.25 million workers.

Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare Financial Services division of General Electric. Moreover, the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and of the railroads in the 19th century made the city a major transportation centre in the US. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company, created global enterprises. Though the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution centre.

Chicago is a major world convention destination. The city's main convention centre is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the third largest convention centre in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the US (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually. In addition, Chicago is home to 11 Fortune 500 companies, while the metropolitan area hosts an additional 21 Fortune 500 companies. Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims one Dow 30 company as well; aerospace giant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001.





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