Chicago's Labor Force in Context
How Chicago's Population, Local Economy, and Labor Force Have Changed over Time and How They Compare to Other Cities
During the recent economic downturn, many questions were raised about how to improve the local Chicago economy and reduce high unemployment rates. To help understand the extent of the problem and to begin identifying ways to address challenging economic conditions, this report places Chicago’s economic experience within a broader context, assessing how Chicago’s population, workforce, and industries have changed over time and how they compare to other cities. This report provides longitudinal and comparative analysis of the Chicago economy and labor force to inform workforce development policymakers about the changing characteristics and experiences of the workforce. This analysis uses U.S. Census data to describe the population, industries, and labor force of Chicago over time and to compare them to other major metropolitan areas. The report includes analysis on population and demographic characteristics, industries in the local economy, employment and labor force participation, and several special topics, such as younger workers, older workers, those currently enrolled in education while employed, and family income inequality.