Illinois is known to be at the epicenter of North America where companies both large and small can thrive in a world-class economy that is one of the most diverse in the U.S.

The state of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) provides a wide range of incentives, grant programs, access to loans, and State Tax Incentives to small and medium-sized businesses.

If you register a new company in Illinois, you can benefit from several programs that are offered that include a Participation Loan Program, an Illinois Enterprise Zone Program, and a River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program, to name a few. Links to these resources are at the bottom of the page.

Some of the most talented entrepreneurs with the world’s brightest minds gravitate to Illinois to be part of the second most economically powerful region in the U.S. The Prairie State is centrally located with easy access to many other states, it has a solid transportation infrastructure, a well-educated and experienced workforce of millions, and over 1.2 million small businesses that are the main driver of Illinois’ economy.

Economic facts about Illinois

Illinois businesses also enjoy low corporate taxes and tax-free personal property that help make the state one of the most business-friendly places in the nation.

The state also has a greater share of small businesses than the national average. More than 77% of businesses in Illinois are small businesses employing fewer than 50 employees. Many other states rely on much larger businesses with 500 or more employees to make up the majority of their employees, which demonstrates why Illinois is a very pro-small business state.

Illinois is still home to many larger international companies and franchises, which in return contribute vastly to the state’s impressive economic strength.

What is the Largest Employer in Illinois?

  • McDonald’s (Worlds largest fast-food chain)
  • Boeing (Aerospace company)
  • Motorola (Smartphone company)
  • Caterpillar (Construction & Mining equipment and clothes)
  • United Airlines (Airline holding company)
  • Mondelez International (Confectionary food company)

People decide to call Illinois their new home, and place of work and business for an abundance of reasons, with the main contributing factors being affordability (21st most affordable state), the state’s undeniable beauty, cultural significance, and opportunity.

Typical facts about Illinois include beautiful mountain ranges, attractive landscapes and towns, unique and diverse cultures, big cities and plenty of farmland too, and history that is unmatched by most other states, which makes Illinois such a popular place to live in the United States.

Here are some additional economic facts about Illinois

  • Illinois’ GDP is over $897 billion.
  • Illinois’ GDP per capita is over $70,000.
  • Illinois has the 5th largest economy (based on GDP) out of all 50 states.
  • Ranked 5th in the US for Access to Capital.
  • Access to 6.4 million labor force.
  • Illinois has a brilliant education system (over 192 educational institutions), with 43.7% of the state’s population being college-educated.
  • There are 38 Fortune 500 companies in Illinois.
  • Illinois has a solid healthcare system, with the state having one of the best public healthcare in the nation.
  • Chicago has the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the U.S., which makes the city’s consumer market one of the strongest in the nation.
  • Big contributions to the Illinois economy have been the Illinois agriculture, manufacturing, and mining are still hugely significant industries that contribute tremendously to the state’s strong economy.
  • Illinois is the number one state in the U.S. for domestic banks and holding companies.
  • There are 12 international airports located within the state with 1,400 daily departures.
  • Illinois is the largest food processing cluster in the United States.
  • The Prairie State is the 12th best state for technology and innovation.
  • The current minimum wage in Illinois is $11.00 per hour.

Business Facts About Illinois

With the many opportunities presented to aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners, and employees, Illinois is the perfect place for business, which is evident in the state’s pro-business approach, and economic strength.

Despite already having one of the most stable and largest economies in the nation, Illinois’ economy is continuously growing with small businesses driving this growth. Small businesses in Illinois account for almost 4% (3.9%) of all U.S. small businesses.

These small businesses (and large businesses) thrive within the state due to access to business resources, capital investments, free advisories, and the state’s access to large consumer markets.

Economic fact about Illinois

Here Are Some Business Facts About Illinois

  • Ranked the 15th Best Business Environment in the US (U.S. News & World Report – 2019).
  • Illinois, and more specifically, Chicago is a global financial center and headquarters of a wide variety of financial institutions.
  • Ranked 11th in the US for Technology & Innovation (CNBC – Top States in the US, 2019).
  • Illinois is home to over 1.2 million small businesses.
  • The maximum corporate income tax for businesses is 9.5%.
  • Illinois is home to a diverse and skilled labor market.
  • The sales tax rate in Illinois is 6.25%.

What is the Biggest Industry in Illinois?

The largest small business industry in Illinois in terms of employment share is the health care and social assistance industry, with the largest industry in terms of the number of firms being professional, scientific, and technical services (163,017 total small business firms).

The largest industry in Illinois in terms of both employment share and number of firms is business services, with financial services producing 367,000 workers alone, and business professional services producing an additional 926,000 workers!

Doing business anywhere is a tall order, with many different rules and regulations you must abide by, statewide, and on a national scale, especially somewhere with the business profile of Illinois, making it an incredibly competitive environment.

However, competition brings out the best in people, and that is what is being witnessed in Illinois. Businesses are thriving within the state and will continue to do so, which in return, helps with the ever-increasing state economy.

Resources and information on Illinois’ economy and business climate

Business and economic support programs

Additional resources