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Survey: More companies, jobs to head back into Chicago

(Crain's) — Expect companies and jobs to continue moving back to the city.

Almost 80 percent of 12,000 area professionals surveyed by Ernst & Young LLP say they believe companies will keep moving from the suburbs to downtown. Google Inc. decided to move more than 2,000 Motorola Mobility Inc. workers from Libertyville to downtown after it bought the cellphone maker. United Airlines also moved downtown from Elk Grove Village, and Hillshire Brands, Sara Lee's meat business, is moving to the city from Downers Grove.


The city has been particularly attractive to technology companies that have found that younger workers are less likely to move to the suburbs than previous generations.

“Chicago is the most livable city in the U.S. in terms of cost and quality of culture, and the diversity of work opportunities,” says Brad Keywell, co-founder of venture fund Lightbank and the organizer of Ideas Week. "That appeals to young people who are just entering the workforce who want to be around other young people.”

However, it creates challenges for suburbs faced with losing major employers and taxpayers amid a growing glut of office space.

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