Key Areas of Concern: Government-related Issues, Talent Management

Published on Friday, April 6, 2018
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the National Center for the Middle Market, today, released results of Chicagoland’s Middle Market, a survey that examines the 2017 past performance and 2018 future outlook of middle market businesses in the Chicago region. Chicago’s middle market is a workhorse for jobs and economic vitality. It comprises just 1.5% of all Chicago-region companies, yet provides jobs to 26% of our private sector employees, and generates 22% of all business revenue in the region. The survey shows strong 2017 growth in jobs and revenue, and an outlook for additional growth this year. The full survey report can be viewed here. Key findings include:
  • 2017 employment growth of 5.4%
  • 69% of businesses had higher revenues in 2017 than 2016, with 7.1% average rate of growth. Just 12% of firms reported revenue declines
  • 76% of companies have strong confidence in the local economy
  • 32% of companies expect to add jobs in 2018, at an average rate of 3%. Specific areas of hiring strength are expected to include Operations, Marketing, and Sales
  • 60% of companies expect revenue growth in 2018, at an average rate of 8.2%
  • 75% of companies say government-related issues (e.g., regulations, taxes, general government performance) have a negative impact on their businesses. 25% cited these issues as their #1 external challenge
  • 46% of companies cite internal talent management (retention/development) as a challenge

“Chicago’s middle market is a powerhouse and the new survey shows it’s been getting even stronger,” said Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Job creation and revenue strengthened last year, and are now poised for further growth. That’s great news, especially because the mid-market has an outsized impact on our economy.” Thomas A. Stewart, Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, noted that Chicago has an especially important role for middle market companies. "Not only is Chicago the home of many of America's most dynamic midsized companies, it is also the epicenter of middle market finance -- the place to come for the capital that companies need to grow," Stewart said.

Middle Market firms in the Chicago region are most concentrated in the manufacturing and wholesale trade industries. However, professional services, manufacturing, and healthcare companies provide the most jobs.


The Chicagoland’s Middle Market survey is an initiative of the National Center for the Middle Market and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which serves as the local partner. The 2017/2018 survey represents the first time a full year of Chicago-region data has been reported. It will serve as a baseline for comparison with future years’ performances and outlooks. Middle market businesses are defined as those with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion.


The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,100 member organizations that employ 400,000 people and create more than $24 billion in revenue. It combines the power of its membership with a legacy of leadership and business advocacy to drive a dynamic economy. The Chicagoland Chamber focuses on delivering value for its members, making Chicagoland a world-class place to live and work.


The National Center for the Middle Market is a collaboration between The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, SunTrust Banks Inc., Grant Thornton LLP, and Cisco Systems. It exists for a single purpose: to ensure that the vitality and robustness of Middle Market companies are fully realized as fundamental to our nation’s economic outlook and prosperity. The Center is the leading source of knowledge, leadership, and innovative research on the middle market economy, providing critical data analysis, insights, and perspectives for companies, policymakers, and other key stakeholders, to help accelerate growth, increase competitiveness and create jobs in this sector.


Categories: Chamber News, Press Releases