BMO Economics Special Report: Illinois Economy Set to Grow 2.5 Percent in 2014 With Boost From Business Investment

BMO Economics Special Report: Illinois Economy Set to Grow 2.5 Percent in 2014 
With Boost From Business Investment 
CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 04/25/14 -- 

--  BMO Economics Special Report on Great Lakes region says economic
    activity will bounce back in 2014
--  Illinois economy expected to grow 2.5 percent this year and 2.9
    percent in 2015
--  Exports will continue to rise following solid fourth quarter in 2013,
    with strong Chicagoland factory activity

The Illinois economy in 2014 will see notable improvement over last
year, according to a special report released today by BMO Economics
on the economic output from the Great Lakes region. The report, North
America's Economic Engine, was released to coincide with the Council
of Great Lakes Governors meeting, taking place in Chicago on April
25-26, 2014. 
The report notes that the region is a major driver of North American
economic output, employment and trade, accounting for nearly a third
of combined Canadian and U.S. output, jobs and exports. Real GDP in
Illinois is expected to rise 2.5 percent in 2014 and a further 2.9
percent in 2015, up from a below-average rate of 1.4 percent last
"The major bond-rating agencies -- Moody's, Fitch, S&P -- have all in
recent week's heralded Illinois' passage of pension reform
legislation; the hard work we have done over the last five years to
rein in our budget; and the 5-year blueprint I introduced last month
to stabilize the state's tax base as evidence that Illinois is now on
a path toward 'fiscal stability,'" said Pat Quinn, Governor of
Illinois. "We were pleased this week to learn the state's
unemployment has fallen to its lowest in five years. There are more
people working now than when I took office five years ago. Since
2010, Illinois has added 257,400 private-sector jobs. Site Selection
magazine ranks Illinois 3rd in the nation for new business sites and
expansions, so we welcome you to consider investing in Illinois. We
can offer you wide tracts of land, world-class universities,
symphonies and theaters, a well-educated workforce and a 21st-Century
infrastructure with transportation access to the world." 
"The Great Lakes region has so much going for itself with
transportation infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, research and
development, digital manufacturing, strong locally-rooted financial
institutions, and some of the world's best post-secondary
institutions," said Ambassador David Jacobson, Vice-Chair, BMO
Financial Group. "I am delighted that the Council of Great Lakes
Governors meeting is taking place here in Chicago, which is home to
dozens of Fortune 1000 companies. We are a city like no other when it
comes to reinventing itself. The discussions over the next two days
here in Chicago will allow us to explore opportunities to create
jobs, strengthen trade, open doors to new discoveries, and drive
innovation and prosperity for all in the region." 
Real GDP in Illinois is expected to rise 2.5 percent in 2014 and a
further 2.9 percent in 2015, up from a below-average rate of 1.4
percent last year. Export growth should continue this year after
rebounding in the fourth quarter of 2013 following a slow start to
the year. Factory activity in Chicagoland is in recovery mode as
well, with the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) surging to a
2.5 year high recently.  
"Business investment is expected to help the Illinois economy pick up
in 2014 and the fading of public sector drag should also help boost
growth in the State," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics,
BMO Capital Markets. "The housing market, too, is gathering momentum
and in Chicago we have seen double-digit increases for home prices
year over year. With improvement in economic growth and confidence in
the state, we can expect to see an even more substantial recovery in
home prices in the coming year." 
Job growth in Illinois remains muted, running at a 0.5 percent
year-over-year pace in the three months through March. The
unemployment rate is expected to drift down to 7.6 percent in 2015. 
Industries that had previously helped carry the state economy out of
the slowdown -- such as manufacturing -- are now sluggish. However,
employment at the state and municipal government levels has evened
out and is no longer acting as a major drag on the labor market. 
To view a full copy of the report, visit 
About BMO Capital Markets
 BMO Capital Markets is a leading,
full-service North American financial services provider, with more
than 2,300 employees operating in 16 North American offices and 29
worldwide, offering corporate, institutional and government clients
access to a complete range of investment and corporate banking
products and services. BMO Capital Markets is a member of BMO
Financial Group (NYSE: BMO) (TSX: BMO), one of the largest
diversified financial services providers in North America with US$532
billion total assets and more than 45,500 employees as at January 31,
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(R)
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 $593 billion
in assets (as of January 31, 2014). 
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Media contact:
Alexis Brown
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