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March 7, 2012
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New Economic Growth and Jobs Plan from World Business Chicago

Metropolitan Chicago is one of the world's great economic centers, but according to a draft report released last week by World Business Chicago the region has lagged behind the nation in economic growth this past decade. Commissioned by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago's Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs provides a stark analysis of the area's strengths and weaknesses while laying out a blueprint for future economic growth.

Though the report was prepared for the City of Chicago, it takes a regional approach to economic development. One of the most important conclusions of the report is that in today's fluctuating global marketplace, regional economies are the drivers of sustained growth. As such, the authors of the report -- who include public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders -- conclude that Chicago and the metropolitan area are economically co-dependent and form a single economy.

The plan provides a snapshot of the regional economy, highlighting that metropolitan Chicago is a large and diverse economy with a global footprint. Within the past decade, however, the region's standing as a dynamic economic powerhouse has been slipping -- the gross regional product of the region has grown at only half the national average in the last ten years. Furthermore, the region has lagged in other key economic indicators such as employment, productivity, and average wages.

World Business Chicago's plan provides a series of strategic goals meant to reverse the downward trend witnessed this past decade and recapture the region's historic position as a center of growth and productivity. Specific strategies include supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, nurturing regional clusters such as manufacturing and logistics, and investing in infrastructure as a means of economic development. These strategic goals all correspond well to the recommendations put forward in GO TO 2040, showcasing the shared approach to regional economic development.

Comments on the plan should be sent to plan@WorldBusinessChicago.com. World Business Chicago views the plan as a living document that will be updated with new content and data as available. They are currently communicating the plan to different stakeholders to receive feedback and input. Regional engagement and collaboration will be key to achieving the goals set forth in this plan.


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