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Illinois Middle Market Businesses Poised to Hire in 2015

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According to a study of Illinois-based business leaders, the majority of middle market companies1 in the state report positive performance, with more than half (51 percent) noting employment gains over the past year. The Illinois Middle Market Study, released today by The National Center for the Middle Market with the support of GE Capital and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, found that 65 percent of these businesses currently report open positions, 71 percent of which are full time.

“Business growth depends on talented workers, and executives in Illinois are telling us that they’re having a tough time finding the people they need – at all levels,” said Thomas A. Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market.

Building off positive hiring trends over the past year, Illinois middle market businesses are expected to outpace the national anticipated average for employment growth in the year ahead. Middle-market business leaders in the state predict employment growth of 3.5 percent, while the national average sits slightly lower, at 3.2 percent.

“Over half of the middle-market businesses in our state experienced employment growth last year,” said Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, in response to the study. “There’s a real opportunity for the middle market to be the driving force behind employment in Illinois.”

Business growth extends beyond employment, as 69 percent of middle market companies also reported increases in revenue in the past year. In addition to individual company growth, one-third of survey respondents expect that the industry in which they operate will expand as a whole in the coming year. In fact, Illinois middle market companies are more optimistic about business growth in the next 12 months than the national middle market average. State business executives anticipate a mean gross revenue growth of 6.4 percent in the year ahead, compared to a 5.4 percent expected increase by the national average.

“Illinois’s mid-market businesses have weathered the recent recession and are now poised to invest in the talent and capital structures of their businesses in the year ahead,” said Trevor Schauenberg, president and CEO, GE Capital Corporate Finance. “As seen in the survey and in our daily conversations with customers, a large majority are expecting an increase in gross revenue and 91 percent are expecting employment to either grow or hold steady. GE Capital is proud to support its mid-sized customers by providing customized financing to help companies grow and benefit from the broader macroeconomic recovery.”

Illinois middle market business leaders noted the importance of acquiring top talent for their businesses. While most firms (65 percent) have open positions, one in four survey respondents said they were concerned about attracting, training, and retaining talent. Positions in the highest demand included marketing, sales, and operations jobs.

“The findings of study reflect the environment we’ve seen, especially in terms of our upcoming ability to add talent and prepare for growth in the year ahead,” said Giancarlo Turano, Principal of Turano Baking Company. “Working with GE Capital, we continue to secure the necessary capital to make quality investments in the company that have led to our business’ growth.”

About the Illinois Middle Market Study

The Illinois Middle Market Study surveyed 110 executives from the Illinois middle market (companies ranging from $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue) to examine topics related to business capabilities and performance, growth drivers and economic outlook among other topics. The study was fielded February 17 to March 30, 2015. The survey was conducted by RTI International on behalf of the National Center for the Middle Market in partnership with GE Capital, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois CPA Society, Illinois Technology Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and Illinois Food Retailers Association.

About GE Capital

GE Capital offers customers around the globe an array of financial products, services and insights to help them grow their businesses. For more information, visit www.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital).

GE (NYSE:GE) imagines things others don’t, builds things others can’t and delivers outcomes that make the world work better. GE brings together the physical and digital worlds in ways no other company can. In its labs and factories and on the ground with customers, GE is inventing the next industrial era to move, power, build and cure the world. www.ge.com

About the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)

The National Center for the Middle Market was founded in 2011 in partnership with GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business. The Center is the nation’s leading research institution dedicated to helping middle market companies to be more competitive through research, advocacy and educational initiatives. To learn more about the Center visit www.middlemarketcenter.org.

1 Middle market companies are defined as companies with $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenues

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