City: Chicago

Chicago ranks first as the city with the best economic potential, with San Diego coming in second and Boston and Denver tied for third place.

Real inflation-adjusted growth for Chicago was 32.8% from 1999-2000; 0.9% over the 2000-2003 recession; and 2.5% from 2002-2003, the last year for which figures are available.

The city is home to 8.55 million people and over 205,000 businesses, providing 4.15 million jobs. During the preceding business cycle, the population increased by more than 861,910 people, a growth rate of nearly 12%.

Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Chicago-based corporate headquarters increased from 81 to 98, second only to New York City. The area’s economy provided 476,000 new private sector jobs during the 1990s. Rating agency Moody’s ranks Chicago as having the most diversified economy in the US with strength across all sectors and no over-reliance on any sector.

About 1600 foreign-owned businesses from 56 countries are located in the Chicago area, employing more than 200,000 people. Property, plant and equipment investment in Illinois by foreign companies exceeds $50bn.

In this category, San Diego came in second place and Boston and Denver tied for third.

State: Texas


Texas shows the best economic potential, with Florida coming second, followed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The judges were impressed by the breadth and depth of the state’s $847.81bn GDP for 2004 and forecasts for the future. The forecasts indicate a 4% gross state product (GSP) increase between 2004-2010, with an average GSP increase of 7% per year between 2004 and 2010.

Coming in at second place was Florida and third was Virginia.