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Chicago Career Outlook: Careers to Consider in Chicago, IL

May 15, 2018

With a population of almost 3 million people, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. If you're planning on relocating to the Chicago area, you will find a large variety of job opportunities available to you.

Chicago Employment Overview

In March 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate in Chicago stood at 4.3%, slightly higher than the 4.1% national average. The average hourly wage for Chicago employees was reported by the BLS to be $26.12, which is a few dollars higher than the national average of $23.86. Below, you'll find a list of what are projected to be among the fastest-growing jobs in Chicago over the 2014-2024 decade. In addition, there is information about the top employers and the fastest growing industries in Chicago.

Most In-Demand Careers

With such diverse work opportunities in a city as populous as Chicago, you would expect to find in-demand careers across many industries. The following list is based off of data from the Illinois Virtual Labor Market Information (LMI) for the jobs with the fastest growth projected from 2014-2024 in Cook County, which is where Chicago is located. All of these jobs are expected to see 25% growth or more over that decade, and they represent a wide range of industries, from information technology to healthcare to construction:

  • Operations Research Analysts
  • Web Developers
  • Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers
  • Home Health Aides
  • Software Developers - Applications
  • Hearing Aid Specialists
  • Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
  • Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
  • Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers

Fastest-Growing Industries

The Illinois Virtual LMI also provides information about the fastest-growing industries from 2014-2024, and several are what you'd expect to see, based on the fastest-growing jobs: the healthcare and construction industries are both expected to see strong growth. The overall growth expected for all industries in Cook County is 6.31%, and all of the following industries are expected to exceed that:

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 19.09%
  • Accommodation and Food Services: 14.12%
  • Construction: 14.03%
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 12.91%
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing: 7.65%
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 7.18%

Largest Employers

In 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported that 50 companies located in the city appeared on the Fortune 500 list. According to CareerOneStop, many of the largest employers in all of Illinois were located in Chicago as of 2018. The following are the largest employers in the city based on the number of employees, and most of them are in the areas of higher education and healthcare:

  • University of Illinois-Chicago Office - Public and Government
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • CDW Government LLC
  • University-Chicago Board-Trusts
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Johnston R Bowman Health Center
  • University of Chicago Medicine
  • State Street Global Advisors
  • Northern Trust Corp
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