Employment growth in Evanston stalls

After outpacing the region in recent years, employment growth in Evanston essentially flatlined this year.

A new Where Workers Work report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows that Evanston added just 18 new private sector jobs between March 2017 and March 2018.

By comparison, employment in north suburban Cook County and the Chicago metro region as a whole continued to grow this year, although at a relatively modest pace.

Winnetka scored the biggest percentage gain among the north Cook suburbs last year with a 4.1 percent jump. Northbrook was up 2.6 percent and Glenview up 1 percent. Northfield showed the biggest drop, 7.9 percent, while Wilmette's job count fell 3 percent.

The stall-out of employment growth here, coupled with office vacancy rates now below 5 percent, could influence the debate over plans for a new office tower on Chicago Avenue.

Employment has continued to grow dramatically this decade in some portions of the region -- notably in downtown Chicago, where jobs have increased 27.9 percent since the end of the recession in 2010. Outside Chicago, Cook County jobs have increased just 7.5 percent.

In Evanston jobs have grown 17.4 percent in that period -- the best performance among Cook County's north suburbs. Other top performers nearby so far this decade were Northbrook at 14.9 percent and Skokie at 13.4 percent, while jobs in Wilmette declined 11.7 percent and in Lincolnwood they fell 2.8 percent.

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Evanston needs new Grade A office buildings

Office vacany rates below 5% in Evanston suggests that new office buildings are needed.

With taxes increasing in Chicago at a faster rate than Evanston, and with improved telecommunications and changes in the workforce, there is significant and growing demand for Grade A office building space in downtown Evanston. Our location near public transporation and proximity to Northwestern University make Evanston an attractive place to work, but businesses need the office space.