In a first piece of good economic news for Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that the financial services arm of General Electric would be adding 1,000 jobs in the city, nearly doubling its Chicago-based workforce.
“Pound for pound, Chicago provides a lot of value for us and is a great place to be," said Daniel Henson, president and CEO of GE Capital, Americas, to the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Emanuel has known the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, for some time, dating back to his days in the White House and as Congressman from Chicago's North Side. "I called him and asked, ‘While you’re in town, do you want to grab a drink?’" Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Now, obviously having that experience and having both his email and his phone number was an advantage."
But he went on to say that GE wouldn't have made the investment as a favor. "If this didn't make economic sense to GE and their bottom line, they wouldn't have done it," Emanuel said.
Both he and executives at GE said that Emanuel's fiscal plan for the city -- which includes addressing a massive $500-plus-million deficit -- would take Chicago in the right direction and create a pro-business environment.
According to an Associated Press report, the first 500 of the new jobs will come in within the next year, in commercial, regulatory and technical positions. The other half of the jobs will be added over the several years following.
In addition to the 1,000 employees already in Chicago, GE Capital has another three thousand elsewhere in the state, WBEZ reports.