SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

February 04, 2014 08:00 ET

BMO Economics: Business Investment and Housing to Lift Illinois' Economy 2.5 Percent in 2014

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Feb 4, 2014) -

  • Unemployment in Illinois still high but will improve further through 2015
  • Chicago home prices rising at double-digit pace
  • Exports expected to pick up and business confidence should rise

While economic growth in Illinois was challenged last year by a softening in factory activity and exports, 2014 will see the economy improve at a 2.5 percent pace, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report from BMO Economics.

While real GDP is expected to rise at below-average 1.4 percent in 2013, business investment and the fading of public sector drag should help the State's economy pick up in the coming year.

"This economic forecast represents part of the business-led recovery taking place throughout Illinois," said Ray Whitacre, Managing Director and Head, Diversified Industries, Illinois, BMO Harris Bank. "Illinois is filled with efficient industries and companies that are well-positioned to grow and in ideal shape to capitalize on this positive outlook."

Job growth in Illinois remains muted, running at a 1.1 percent year-over-year pace in December. Manufacturing and construction -- industries that had previously helped carry the state economy out of slowdown -- are now sluggish themselves. However, employment at the state and municipal government levels has evened out and is no longer weighing significantly on the labor market.

"There is room for improvement in Illinois' job market. The unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, ending 2013 at 8.6 percent. The tide is slowing turning though, and that rate should drift down closer to 7.6 percent by 2015," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

"The housing sector will be one to watch as well, especially in Chicago. The latest numbers showed a solid double-digit year-over-year gain, but there remains room to grow. Still, housing across Illinois has not yet seen the same rebound as other hard-hit states," Mr. Kavcic added. 

To view a full copy of the report, visit

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank® is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $537 billion in assets (as of October 31, 2013).

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