Overview of the Fastest Growing Careers in Chicago

Learn about the fastest-growing industries in Chicago. Get a quick view of recent growth in the top three fields, as well as some of the jobs that are included within these economic sectors.

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Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States, with a population of over three million people. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is home to many historical and cultural attractions, as well as business opportunities; the metropolitan area is home to twenty-one Fortune 500 companies. If you're interested in living and working in the Windy City, you may want to consider working in one of these industries.

Essential Information

From August 2015 to August 2016, the industry with the greatest employment gain was hospitality and leisure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this field increased by 4.7%, which amounts to a total of 19,200 jobs. In terms of total job numbers, the next-best performing industry was professional and business services, which added 13,200 jobs, but this only represents a 1.6% growth rate, which is not as fast as the nationwide growth rate of 2.7%. The construction industry also performed well in Chicago, adding 9,500 jobs over the course of the year, representing 5.4% growth.

Industry Hospitality and Leisure Professional and Business Services Construction
Percent Job Growth (August 2015 - August 2016) 4.7% 1.6% 5.4%
Numerical Job Growth (August 2015 - August 2016) 19,200 13,200 9,500

Fastest-Growing Sectors

Leisure and Hospitality

According to the BLS, Leisure and Hospitality is a super-sector industry consisting of two sectors: Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation and Accommodation and Food Services. Students in the first sector may find jobs as actors, amusement and recreation attendants, fitness trainers, aerobics instructors, gaming supervisors, musicians and singers. The second sector consists of food preparation and serving workers, cooks, hotel clerks, and waiters/waitresses, among others.

Professional and Business Services

There are three subsectors encompassed within the Professional and Business Services super-sector. One is Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, in which individuals find jobs as accountants, lawyers, architectural and civil drafters or management analysts. The second sector consists of managers of companies and enterprises, while the third consists of administrative and support workers, as well as waste management and remediation services. There is some overlap in the workers encompassed within these three sectors. In most of these jobs, workers spend most of their time in an office.


Construction is a less wide-ranging industry, consisting primarily of construction laborers, construction managers, carpenters, electricians, and operating engineers. They tend to spend most of their days working on construction sites, rather than doing office work.

To summarize, hospitality and leisure is the fastest-growing economic super-sector in the Chicago area, but the professional/business services and construction industries are growing as well. Because these three industries encompass such a wide range of occupations, individuals with a wide range of interests and educational backgrounds may find suitable employment.

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