We work and move as one region

Download the PDF.

Our region’s economy is inter-connected, with individual communities part of a larger economic ecosystem. As state and local governments determine how to safely reopen workplaces through the Restore Illinois plan, data can provide context on where our residents live and work in order to make safe, informed decisions.

 

Movement occurs across jurisdictional boundaries

Prior to the stay-at-home orders, most workers in the Chicago region (56 percent) commuted across county boundaries every day, knitting our communities together into a metropolitan economy. This figure is significantly higher for the region’s collar counties. While 36.5 percent of Chicago residents ‘reverse commute’ out of the city, two-thirds of residents each in Will County (69.1 percent), McHenry County (67.7 percent), and Kane and Kendall counties (65.8 percent) cross these boundaries to work. Roughly one in ten regional workers (9.1 percent) also commutes in to the seven-county Chicago region from other areas like Wisconsin and Indiana, and exurban Grundy, Kankakee, and DeKalb counties.

The pre-pandemic charts below show the flows of residents from their home (on the left) to their workplace (on the right) and back again. While we strive to build places where residents can live, work, and play within their local community, the bulk of economic activity occurs across county boundaries creating a regional labor market.

 

Community into and out of the City of Chicago graphic

 

 

Suburban commutes graphic.

 

 

Cross jurisdictional commutes graphic

 

 

All commute flows in the Chicago region reveal a single, unified labor market graphic

 

 

Our industries are located across the region

Despite our economy’s metropolitan breadth, assumptions of where different industries are located can often over-simplify the diversity and distribution of economic activity across the region.

The table below shows a simple breakdown of jobs across the region in 2019. Some areas have a particularly high share of jobs in certain sectors—for example, professional and business services in the City of Chicago’s central business district and adjoining neighborhoods. However, communities throughout the region have a broad mix of basic, consumer, and business services as well as goods production. And these businesses rely on regional networks for customers, suppliers, capital, ideas, and other resources as well as regional talent pools. Collaboration across communities can strengthen economic gains for public expenditures and support both local and regional goals. Innovative, shared efforts are even more important during more difficult business conditions.

Breakdown of jobs across the region in 2019 chart

 

Resilience and recovery for our whole region

Regional commute patterns underscore  how the region’s economy is tightly inter-connected. In responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and subsequent economic downturn, metropolitan Chicago will need to consider these underlying connections and develop region-wide solutions. This approach should emphasize rebuilding community capacity, increasing the resilience of affected communities, and ensuring continuity toward long-standing community and economic development objectives. Doing so means rethinking strategies to address underlying problems that have contributed to the crisis in the first place and working together as one economic unit.

 

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We work and move as one region

Download the PDF.

Our region’s economy is inter-connected, with individual communities part of a larger economic ecosystem. As state and local governments determine how to safely reopen workplaces through the Restore Illinois plan, data can provide context on where our residents live and work in order to make safe, informed decisions.

 

Movement occurs across jurisdictional boundaries

Prior to the stay-at-home orders, most workers in the Chicago region (56 percent) commuted across county boundaries every day, knitting our communities together into a metropolitan economy. This figure is significantly higher for the region’s collar counties. While 36.5 percent of Chicago residents ‘reverse commute’ out of the city, two-thirds of residents each in Will County (69.1 percent), McHenry County (67.7 percent), and Kane and Kendall counties (65.8 percent) cross these boundaries to work. Roughly one in ten regional workers (9.1 percent) also commutes in to the seven-county Chicago region from other areas like Wisconsin and Indiana, and exurban Grundy, Kankakee, and DeKalb counties.

The pre-pandemic charts below show the flows of residents from their home (on the left) to their workplace (on the right) and back again. While we strive to build places where residents can live, work, and play within their local community, the bulk of economic activity occurs across county boundaries creating a regional labor market.

 

Community into and out of the City of Chicago graphic

 

 

Suburban commutes graphic.

 

 

Cross jurisdictional commutes graphic

 

 

All commute flows in the Chicago region reveal a single, unified labor market graphic

 

 

Our industries are located across the region

Despite our economy’s metropolitan breadth, assumptions of where different industries are located can often over-simplify the diversity and distribution of economic activity across the region.

The table below shows a simple breakdown of jobs across the region in 2019. Some areas have a particularly high share of jobs in certain sectors—for example, professional and business services in the City of Chicago’s central business district and adjoining neighborhoods. However, communities throughout the region have a broad mix of basic, consumer, and business services as well as goods production. And these businesses rely on regional networks for customers, suppliers, capital, ideas, and other resources as well as regional talent pools. Collaboration across communities can strengthen economic gains for public expenditures and support both local and regional goals. Innovative, shared efforts are even more important during more difficult business conditions.

Breakdown of jobs across the region in 2019 chart

 

Resilience and recovery for our whole region

Regional commute patterns underscore  how the region’s economy is tightly inter-connected. In responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and subsequent economic downturn, metropolitan Chicago will need to consider these underlying connections and develop region-wide solutions. This approach should emphasize rebuilding community capacity, increasing the resilience of affected communities, and ensuring continuity toward long-standing community and economic development objectives. Doing so means rethinking strategies to address underlying problems that have contributed to the crisis in the first place and working together as one economic unit.

 

To Top