GE plans to add 1,000 jobs in Chicago

May 23, 2011 4:16:35 PM PDT
The City of Chicago is getting 1,000 new jobs. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says GE Capital will expand its operations in the city.

Emanuel made the announcement Monday along with the head of GE Capital.

The announcement means that exactly one week after Mayor Emanuel was sworn in he was able to announce one of city's biggest white collar job expansions in recent years.

And, it's happening at the local office of one of the nation's largest financial services companies, which has made a renewed commitment to Chicago.

"We're a city that's on the move," said Mayor Emanuel. "It's a city that's ready to look at its future with confidence."

The mayor said he began discussing the possibility of GE Capital's expansion two months before his inauguration. Emanuel said he had known several of the company's executives from his days as a U.S. congressman and later as White House chief of staff.

The multi-billion dollar financial services company will add 1,000 new jobs to the just over 1,000 it already has in Chicago. Another 3,000 GE Capital employees work elsewhere in Illinois.

"We are a city that is about winning. We are confident in our future, and this is an affirmation of the strategy of not being scared of the challenges but seeing them as opportunities," Mayor Emanuel said.

As the Great Recession developed during early 2009, the city's financial district lost jobs by the thousands. GE Capital's 2011 first quarter earnings were up 60 percent over the same period in 2010, a signal to President Dan Henson that the U.S. economy is in recovery.

"Clearly our results are looking up," said Henson. "You may have seen our first quarter results, and our financial services company is doing very well and is recovering from the crisis, and right now we're very busy and in growth mode."

Emanuel said the only subsidy he offered the company was in his own political capital: Promises to improve the Chicago Public Schools and to get the city's fiscal house in order.

"Take on the challenges that the city has to as relates to its own fiscal situation and business-friendly mode. That's spending political capital," said Emanuel.

GE Capital says the first 500 new workers will be hired over the next year and 500 more in subsequent years.

Many of the jobs are considered higher-paid, skilled positions in the financial industry.

Not only is it good news for Chicago, but also an encouraging sign for the nation's economy. GE Capital lends money to "main street businesses," which according to the company also are in growth mode.

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