Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, March 23

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Fight for $15 Continues American Legacy of Social Movements Lessons Learned in Englewood: 8 Years of Reflections from a CPS Teacher »

Economics Thu Sep 25 2014

10 Recent Takes on Chicago's Economy

From fur trading to tech startups, this city's history has always been linked to its economic output and job opportunities.

So how are those looking today? Depends on what you look at.

1. The Chicago metro area median household income in 2013 barely changed from 2012 [PDF].

2. Chicago metro area "High Net Worth" investors are optimistic about the city, but pessimistic about local startups and the state of Illinois.

3. The Chicago metro area has over 1.3 million people living in poverty.

4. The Chicago Federal Reserve's National Activity Index ("a monthly index designed to gauge overall economic activity and related inflationary pressure" nationwide) fell to -.21% in August from .26% in July [PDF].

5. Chicago dropped its unemployment rates from last year... due, in part, to fewer job seekers statewide.

6. Chicago is slightly in favor of a minimum wage increase to $10/hr and millionaire tax increase by 3 percent.

7. Chicago has at least one mayoral candidate reviving the idea of a commuter tax.

8. Chicago is the best place to spend money at bars.

9. Chicago is the fifth best "big city bargain" in the country.

10. Chicago's long-term economic prospects are only as appealing as your age group [PDF].

Just keep these factors in mind when Nov. 4 and Feb. 24 roll around.

GB store
GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15