KPMG recently released its biennial report on international business costs and competitiveness factors for more than 100 cities in 10 countries. Competitive Alternatives 2016 serves as a guide to business costs for companies looking to expand their operations. The study evaluates each location based on 26 key cost components (including labor, facility, transportation, utilities, capital, and taxes) over a 10-year time horizon as well as other non-cost factors that influence business attractiveness, such as regulatory environment and infrastructure. Chicago has a business cost index of 98.3 (out of a baseline of 100), making it the 21st lowest-cost US metro area out of 31 major metros*, outperforming Los Angeles (100.8), San Francisco (104.5), and New York City (104.7).

  • Since 2014, Chicago’s average business costs have decreased for every industry category in the study: Digital Services, Research & Development, Corporate Services, and Manufacturing.
  • Chicago’s lowest business costs are in Product Testing R&D and Biotechnology R&D with respective indexes of 94.8 and 95.2, while its highest costs are in the Digital Services industry, with an index of 98.9 for Digital Entertainment.
  • The top three emerging and/or modern industries in Chicago are identified as: Biotechnology, Software Design/Development and Telecommunications Equipment/Services.

Comparison of KPMG Index: Ten Largest US Metro Areas

KPMG Competitive Metro Rankings 040516

*KPMG defines major metros as having a minimum population of 2.0 million. The US Baseline is the average of the four largest metro areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas).

Source: KMPG. For full report and access to the detailed cost comparison tool, visit the KPMG website

Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago is the public-private partnership leading the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs in order to drive business development, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy.


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