Has Chicago Tech Market Reached Peak Expansion?

It’s been a strong run for the tech industry in Chicago since 2012. As CBRE’s Tech Thirty report shows, job growth in the sector continues at a double-digit percentage pace and office rents remain on the rise.

  • Chicago added 10,192 tech jobs from 2012-2014, which accounted for 26.4 percent of new office jobs in this time period.
  • Among the top 30 tech cities tracked by CBRE, Chicago was the sixth highest in terms of number of jobs added.

However, the pace of job growth has slowed down as the Chicago market approaches maturity. The local tech industry expanded by 14.9 percent from 2012-2014, a very impressive number, but below the 19.3 percent by which it expanded by from 2011-2013.

TechThirtyOfficeMarketCycle[4]By no means is the tech market in Chicago at risk of contracting—strong growth is still expected in the coming years—but it is fair to conclude that the pace of expansion may taper off as the market reaches maturity. The sector has been such a strong performer in recent years that this was an inevitable occurrence.

Of course, there are always scenarios that can change this forecast.

“As Chicago continues to establish itself as one of the premier tech markets in the country, touting the talent base and infrastructure to support the world’s largest tech firms, we can’t rule out the possibility of more tech giants moving a substantial employee base to the CBD to take advantage of the city’s resources,” said Brad Serot, executive vice president with CBRE.

To read the full Tech Thirty report, download it here.

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