Illinois Celebrates 2023 Economic Development Milestones

CHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently released the 2023 Illinois Economic Development Highlights report. This summary reveals a record year for economic development in key sectors, including a tripling of REV and EDGE incentivized private investments to nearly $3 billion since 2022, record tourism achievements, and assistance for Illinois small businesses.

“Over the last five years, I’ve worked with the General Assembly to improve our state’s business environment and prioritize economic development,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We attracted new companies and helped existing ones expand, achieved record job growth, and improved our state’s fiscal health. 2023 was another year of historic progress”

“Illinois had an incredible year for economic development. From a record number of loans provided to start and grow small businesses to record tourism achievements, Illinois is the place to be,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I can’t wait to see how we top these numbers in 2024!”

“2023 has been a banner year for economic development in Illinois, including successfully executing new incentive programs, supporting a record number of small businesses with low-interest loans, earning honors among the top states in education and infrastructure, and taking the top spots in national economic development rankings,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “For the first time in a long time, Illinois is attracting businesses and employing a record number of Illinoisans.”

In 2023, EDGE & REV Incentivized Investments Tripled to Nearly $3 Billion Since 2022
Over the course of a year, the number of new jobs created by Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) and Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV) jumped nearly 60 percent, from 2,691 to 4,279 with the number of retained jobs increasing exponentially, from 151 to 2,962. By comparison, prior to the pandemic in 2019, company investments from EDGE totaled $348 million, new jobs totaled 1,667 and REV did not yet exist.

With competitive incentives, modernized infrastructure, unmatched transportation options to ship goods around the world, and an abundant and highly qualified workforce, Illinois is winning over companies looking to make large-scale, long-term investments.

Major agreements from 2023 include Gotion’s electric vehicle (EV) battery gigafactory in Manteno – which represents the largest manufacturing investment in decades and the largest EV battery investment to date, as well as REV agreements with Manner Polymers in Mt. Vernon, who is building a first-of-its kind solar-powered PVC compounding plant using clean energy generated on-site; Prysmian Group in Du Quoin, whose $64 million expansion will manufacture cables for the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors; and Microlink Devices, which manufactures state-of-the-art solar cells and solar shields in Niles.

Notable EDGE investments include Incobrasa in Gilman, which broke ground on its $250 million expansion this summer; UPSIDE Foods, a recipient of EDGE for Start Ups, which is opening its first commercial-scale meat cultivation plant in Glenview; Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s expansion in St. Clair County that will create 200 new jobs and retain nearly 500; Flender Corporation’s manufacturing facility expansion in Elgin; Bonnell Industries’ expansion in Dixon and more.

In addition to REV and EDGE, in 2019 Governor Pritzker enacted incentives to attract data centers, and Illinois saw investments in that industry topping $1.5 billion in 2023 (up from $500 million in 2022), which include Prime Data Centers in Elk Grove Village, Metro Edge Development Partners’ $257 million data center investment in Chicago, Serverfarm’s CH1 data center in Chicago and more. In 2023, Illinois also celebrated the opening of Meta’s new $1 billion DeKalb data center.

Illinois Earned Nine Credit Rating Upgrades Since June 2021
After nearly two decades of steady downgrades, Illinois has earned nine credit rating upgrades since June 2021. Credit rating agencies and bond investors attributed the upgrades to consistent responsible budgeting, focused investments in economic growth initiatives, more than $11 billion in debt pay down, and increasing pension funding.

Record Support for Small Businesses Through the Advantage Illinois Program
Through the Advantage Illinois (AI) program, Illinois issued a record 145 low-interest loans totaling $35.7 million to small businesses – nearly 1.5 times the number of loans issued in 2022 and the most loans issued in a year since the program’s inception in 2012. Nearly 70 percent of loans were provided to Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) or through the Fund for the Advancement of Minority Enterprises (FAME). DCEO is greatly expanding its small business support thanks to $350 million in funding as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Illinois Now Among Leading States in National Economic Development Rankings
In 2023, Illinois topped the lists of major economic development rankings, including Site Selection Magazine, CNBC’s Top States for Business and more. Highlights include:

#1 in Midwest for workforce development (Site Selection Magazine)
#2 state in the nation for corporate investments, with Chicago clocking in as the top metro in the country for corporate investments for the 10th year in a row (Site Selection Magazine)
CNBC Rankings:
– #2 in the nation for infrastructure (up from #3 in ‘22)
– #2 in the nation for education (up from #6 in ‘22)
– #6 in the nation for access to capital (up from #8 in ‘22)
– #9 in the nation for cost of living (up from #20 in ’22)
Moved up 13 spots in Best States for Business since 2018
Chicago voted Best Big City in the nation by readers for the seventh consecutive year (Condé Nast Traveler)

Illinois Achieved Record Hotel Revenue in FY23
With millions of visitors spending billions of dollars in Illinois each year, tourism is a critical part of the Illinois economy. In FY23, Illinois reached its highest-ever hotel revenue figures ($308 million) – surpassing the pre-pandemic record in FY19. According to the latest available data, Illinois welcomed 111 million visitors who spent $44 billion in 2022 – representing 14 million additional travelers spending $12 billion more than calendar year 2021.

Illinois Announced Record-High Film Expenditures for 2022
This year, Illinois announced record-high film expenditures of nearly $700 million for 2022 – $130 million more than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In order to build upon the state’s reputation as a national destination for film and TV production, in 2022, the state expanded the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit and launched the Film and TV Workforce Training Program, which is designed to increase diversity in Illinois’ film industry.

The 2022 inaugural year of the Film and TV Workforce Training Program included more than 70 percent students of color, and 80 percent of the program’s participants obtained paid positions on productions after graduation.

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