United States

Chicago is host to robust middle market sector


The middle market is an outsized but often overlooked contributor to the broader economy, and Chicago is no exception. The greater Chicago area contains some of the longest-standing and best-known middle market companies in the country, touting well-known names such as American Hotel Register Company, Homerun Inn, Lettuce Entertain You, Mesirow Financial, Radio Flyer, Shure, JMB and many more. With more than 90 offices in the United States, RSM US LLP, the largest audit, tax and consulting firm focused on serving middle market leaders worldwide, maintains its headquarters in Chicago.

“Chicago is host to some of the country’s healthiest and best-known middle market companies,” said RSM US Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas. “The city was built on the back of a strong manufacturing sector at the crossroads of the country. Midsize companies have leveraged those factors, giving Chicago a vibrant middle market economy that now extends to a broad array of sectors, including financial services, technology and health care, among others.”

The middle market across the United States comprises companies with between $10 million and $1 billion in annual revenues, accounting for one-third of jobs and 40 percent of GDP. The RSM US Middle Market Business Index reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2018.

“Our proprietary RSM US Middle Market Business Index (MMBI) shows the middle market as a whole is experiencing robust growth in revenues and net earnings,” Brusuelas said. “Companies are also planning to add jobs and increase wages.”

Chicago Federal Reserve Midwest Economic Activity Index

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chicago-area unemployment is at 4.2 percent, the lowest level in more than a decade. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Midwest Economy Index, a measure of economic activity in the region, increased to 0.52 in March. Any index reading above zero indicates growth is running ahead of the historical trend for the region.

"The BLS and Federal Reserve data for Chicago track nicely with our MMBI," Brusuelas said. “The middle market is poised for growth in Chicago and across the entire economy.”

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