Economy of Illinois

Economy of Illinois

Infobox Economy
country = Illinois

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gdp = $528 billion USD (2004)
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per capita = $32,965 USD (2003)
sectors = Agriculture Service sector Financial
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The economy of Illinois is highly diverse. The Chicago metropolitan area is home to many of the nation's largest companies, including Boeing, McDonalds, Motorola, and United Airlines. The Chicago area economy headquarters a wide variety of financial institutions, and is home to the largest futures exchange in the world, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The 2004 total gross state product for Illinois was $528 billion, placing it fifth in the nation. The 2003 per capita income was $32,965. The state's industrial outputs include machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products, publishing, fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, petroleum and coal.


Most of the state of Illinois lies outside of the Chicago urban area and inside the North American Corn Belt. Corn, soybeans, and other large-field crops are grown extensively. These crops and their products account for much of the state's economic output outside of Chicago. Much of the field crop is remanufactured into feed for hogs and cattle. Dairy products and wheat are important secondary crops in specific segments of the state. Illinois produces more cheese than the state of Wisconsin.

In addition, some Illinois farmers grow specialty crops such as popcorn and pumpkins. The state is the largest producer of pumpkins among the U.S. states. [ Illinois Department of Agriculture ] There is a large watermelon growing area centered on Lincoln, Illinois. Illinois wine is a growing industry. In December 2006, the Shawnee Hills were named Illinois's first American Viticultural Area (AVA).cite news | title = Matter of taste: Area in southern Illinois gets Shawnee Hills designation | publisher = Springfield, Ill. "State Journal-Register" | date = 2006-12-14 | page = 21]


Illinois's manufacturing sector grew out of its agricultural production. A key piece of infrastructure for several generations was the Union Stock Yards of Chicago, which from 1865 until 1971 penned and slaughtered millions of cattle and hogs into standardized cuts of beef and pork.

The centralized location of Illinois made it a key manufacturing hub, especially for farm machinery and specialty motor vehicles. In Downstate Illinois, the John Deere Company became one of the world's largest makers of farm machinery, and Caterpillar achieved similar dominance in its diversified line of off-road vehicles.

The Chicago area, meanwhile, began to produce significant quantities of telecommunications gear, electronics, steel, automobiles, and industrial products.

As of 2004, the leading manufacturing industries in Illinois, based upon value-added, were chemical manufacturing ($16.6 billion), food manufacturing ($14.4 billion), machinery manufacturing ($13.6 billion), fabricated metal products ($10.5 billion), plastics and rubber products ($6.8 billion), transportation equipment ($6.7 billion), and computer and electronic products ($6.4 billion). [Manufacturing in Illinois. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. [] ]


By the early 2000s, Illinois's economy had moved toward a dependence on high-value-added services such as financial trading, higher education, logistics, and medicine. In some cases, these services clustered around institutions that hearkened back to Illinois's earlier economies. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a trading exchange for global derivatives, had begun its life as an agricultural futures market.

The Wall Street Journal summarized Illinois's economy in November 2006 with the comment that "Chicago has survived by repeatedly reinventing itself." Brat, Ilan, "Tale of a Warehouse", Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2006, page A1.]

Flash index

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois publishes a "flash-index" that aims to measure expected economic growth in Illinois. The indicators used are corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. These indicators are measured through tax receipts, adjusted for inflation. 100 is the base, so a number above 100 represents growth in the Illinois economy, and a number below 100 represents a shrinking economy. [ IGPA Flash Index] Data from the index, from 6/1981 to the present, can be found [ here] .


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