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With a total gross state product of over $650 billion, Illinois has the fifth largest economy in the United States. Per capital income is roughly $43,000. The capital city of Illinois, Chicago, is home to several of the nation's larges corporations including McDonalds, United Airlines, Motorola and Boeing, to name just a few. Chicago is also the headquarters of the world's largest future exchange, and home to hundreds of financial institutions.

While Chicago is the powerhouse of Illinois, most of the state is found outside the Chicago metro area, in the nation's Corn Belt. One of the largest economic sectors outside of Chicago is Agriculture, which accounts for much of the the state's economic output. Large-field crops including corn and soybeans, make up the majority of agricultural output. Most crops produced in Illinois, in turn, are used to feed hogs and cattle. Secondary and specialty crops include popcorn, wheat, watermelon and pumpkins. It's a little known fact that Illinois is the nation's largest producer for pumpkins.

The manufacturing sector in Illinois is an offshoot of its agricultural production. The state's centralized location makes it an important manufacturing hub, for specialized vehicles and especially for farm equipment and machinery. John Deere, one of the largest manufacturers of farm machinery is based in Moline, Illinois. Another well known manufacturer of machinery and engines, Caterpillar, is based in Peoria, Illinois.

The largest manufacturing industries in Illinois, based on overall annual economic output, are chemical manufacturing ($17 billion), food manufacturing ($15 billion), machinery manufacturing ($14 billion), metal production and fabrication ($11 billion), rubber and plastic products ($7 billion), computer and electronic products ($7 billion), and transportation equipment ($7 billion).

In addition to agriculture and manufacturing, high-value-added services, including logistics, financial trading, healthcare and medicine and higher education, make up a large portion of the Illinois economy. Energy, including coal, petroleum, window power, biofuels, and nuclear power, also contribute to economic growth and prosperity in Illinois.

Through 2014, Illinois was impacted by a national recession with an unemployment rate of 10% and a poverty rate of 12%. Notwithstanding, the city of Chicago, as well as the rest of the state, are continuing to see economic prosperity and employment growth. The state's economy has been characterized by the Wall Street Journal with the following statement: "Chicago has survived by repeatedly reinventing itself".

Largest Employers in Illinois
Employer City Number of Employees
Adjutant General Springfield 13,000
Allstate Insurance Northbrook 13,000
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Bloomington 13,000
Allstate Corporation Northbrook 12,000
Abbott Laboratories Abbott Park 12,000
University of Illinois-Chicago Chicago 11,700 Bloomington 11,500
University of Il-Urbana-Chmpgn Champaign 11,056
Northshore Process Services Evanston 10,000
State Farm Fire & Casualty Bloomington 10,000
State Farm Insurance Bloomington 10,000
University of Chicago Chicago 8,600
Johnston R Bowman Health Center Chicago 8,000
Loyola University Hospital Maywood 7,000
Northshore University Evanston Evanston 6,500
Walgreen Company Deerfield 6,300
Advocate Christ Medical Center Oak Lawn 6,200
Carle Foundations Hoopeston 6,100
Children's Hospital-Illinois Peoria 6,000
John H Stroger Jr Hospital Chicago 6,000
Northern Trust Chicago 6,000
Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago 6,000
Sears Home & Bus Franchises Hoffman Estates 6,000
Sears Holdings Corporation Hoffman Estates 6,000
Osf St Francis Medical Center Peoria 5,500
Council For the Advancement Orland Park 5,100
Accenture Limited Chicago 5,000
Amcheck Inc-Chicago Bolingbrook 5,000
Cna Financial Corporation Chicago 5,000
Edward Hospital & Health Services Naperville 5,000
Comer Children's Hospital Chicago 5,000
Deloitte Chicago 5,000
Cook County Bureaus-Health Services Chicago 5,000
Exelon Corporation Chicago 5,000
Health Care Services Corporation Chicago 5,000
Medline Industries Inc Mundelein 5,000
Northwestern University Evanston 5,000
Scottrade Chicago 5,000
Stroger Hospital-Cook County Chicago 5,000
University of Chicago Medicine Chicago 5,000
University of Il Medical Center Chicago 5,000
Ge Transportation Chicago 4,950
College of Du Page Glen Ellyn 4,900
Sears Hoffman Estates 4,900
Lutheran General Health Care Park Ridge 4,500
Chrysler Corp Assembly Plant Belvidere 4,100
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge 4,000
Abbott Laboratories North Chicago 4,000
Aon Hewitt Lincolnshire 4,000
Baxter Healthcare Deerfield 4,000
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