“Chicago’s economy is thriving and our business sector has set records, keeping us competitive with top global financial cities,” Lightfoot said in a press release announcing an economic development trip to London and Paris, where she looks forward to “discussing Chicago’s economic strengths,” speaking at a financial technology conference, and “learning new ideas to further develop our business community and economy.”
However, Citadel — a hedge fund with $51 billion in assets under management — announced last month that it would move to Miami, Florida. The company’s founder, Ken Griffin — formerly the richest man in Illinois — had already relocated to Miami after telling The Wall Street Journal that Chicago’s rising crime constitutes “a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent.” Indeed, Chicago recorded 797 homicides in 2021 — the highest of any American city.
Likewise, construction machinery maker Caterpillar and airplane manufacturer Boeing respectively announced moves to Irving, Texas, and Arlington, Virginia. The former company had sales and revenues of $51 billion last year and ranks 73 on the Fortune 500, while the latter had more than $62 billion in revenue and holds the rank of 60.
“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby explained in a statement.
Yet Chicago officials made no mention of the heavy losses in their press release.
“We are pleased to bring together city and business leaders to represent Chicago’s global interests in London and Paris,” Michael Fassnacht, chief marketing officer of Chicago, added. “Chicago’s competitiveness in the world is key to our strategy of driving growth, innovation, and a strong business sector. As such, the business delegation joining us represents the varying interests of the city’s business community, helpful in promoting Chicago as an investment-friendly city, as well, strengthening important, and long-standing, global business relationships.”
Chicago lost an average of 0.2% of its population each year between 2014 and 2019, according to Oxford Economics, as net migration fell to negative 0.7% between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021. The city is not expected to regain jobs lost during COVID and the lockdown-induced recession until the first quarter of 2024.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Illinois construction business owner and gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine described how crime made work in Chicago challenging.
“We would do thousands of jobs a year in the city, but as we got robbed more, my people operating rollers and pavers we got robbed, our equipment would get stolen in broad daylight and there would usually be a gun involved, and it got expensive and it got dangerous,” Rabine noted, adding that security and insurance costs made the jobs “twice as much as they should be.”
Rabine was not surprised to hear the news of Citadel leaving Chicago. “If you want a great culture in your company you have to have people that love being on the team and they don’t want to live in a violent area,” he told Fox. “They don’t want to live in a place where their kids can’t walk to school safely and their wives and kids can’t go shopping in a beautiful environment like Michigan Avenue which was once the safest place you could ever go shopping.”