World Business Chicago tracks indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including employment in major sectors, residential and office real estate data, price and purchasing indexes, freight demand, and auto and truck sales. Note: employment data refers to payroll job estimates for the city of Chicago and is not adjusted for seasonality.

Key trends evident this month include:

  • New hires in the Midwest increased from 955,000 to 1.2 million, a 25.5 percent improvement year-over-year.
  • Two consumer sentiment indexes reported robust gains over the last year. The Consumer Sentiment Index increased by 11.2 percentage points since March 2013 and the Consumer Confidence Index increased by 18.1 percentage points since February 2013.
  • Midwest housing starts increased to 140,000 units in January (seasonally adjusted annual volume), a 125.8% growth compared to the same period last year.
  • Passenger volume for O’Hare and Midway Airports grew by 898,052, a 15.8% year-over-year change since January 2013.

These and other trends are illustrated in this month’s Chicago By The Numbers.

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