Chicago is the largest city in the Midwestern U.S. state of Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. Known as the "Second City," the "Windy City," the "City of Big Shoulders," and "Chi-town" (as well as other nicknames, and a variety of colloquial nicknames that reflect the city's character), Chicago is located along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. When combined with its suburbs and nine surrounding counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, the greater metropolitan area known as Chicagoland encompasses a population of nearly 10 million people.
Growing from its 1833 founding as a frontier town of the Old Northwest into one of the world's premier cities, Chicago is ranked as one of 10 "Alpha" (most influential) world cities by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. Chicago was the site of the world's first skyscraper, and today is the architectural, financial, and cultural capital of the Midwest. The city is also the transportation center of the U.S., with more rail lines and interstates radiating from Chicago than any other city in the U.S. The city's skyscrapers, local cuisine, political traditions, and sports teams are some of its most recognized symbols.
The local ecocnomy
Chicago is the United States' second financial center with the nation's second largest central business district and third largest gross metropolitan product. The city's gross metropolitan product is approximately $390 billion. Manufacturing, printing and publishing, and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy.
The construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and the railroads in the 1800s made the city a major transportation center in the United States. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour, created global enterprises and communicated with divisions spread around the world via telegraph. Today, Chicago is a major tranportation and distribution center. The city is also a major convention destination; Chicago is third in the U.S. behind Las Vegas and Orlando as far as the number of conventions hosted annually.
The city is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). Chicago is also home to four major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (Merc). Chicago and the surrounding areas also house many major brokerage firms and insurance companies, such as Allstate Corporation.
Chicago is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the metropolitan area hosts an additional 21 Fortune 500 companies. Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are also home to the second largest labor pool in the United States, numbering approximately 4.25 million workers.
Source - Wikipedia: Chicago, Illinois
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