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Chicago Construction Jobs Created by O’Hare Projects

Posted on March 31, 2009

Federal stimulus money set aside for some expansion projects at O’Hare International Airport will create new Chicago construction jobs.

The City of Chicago was originally hoping some of the $15 billion renovation project for the airport would be covered by stimulus money. However, the project doesn’t qualify under the criteria established by President Barack Obama. However, separate projects to repave an existing runway and widen a taxiway will receive $12 million in stimulus money, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune.

“People talk about a billion, trillion, but $12 million is a lot of money,” Mayor Richard Daley said in the article. “We’re very grateful.”

Of the money the city will receive, $7 million will be used to widen and reposition Taxiway M and $5.5 million will be used to repave Runway 10/28, the airport’s busiest landing strip. The projects are estimated to create 75 construction jobs.

The airport completed a $450 million runway in November 2008, the first new runway in almost 40 years. However, the airport hasn’t secured funding for a second phase of expansion, which includes another new runway and terminal, both expected to be complete by 2014.

The new jobs should help aid the Chicago area’s declining construction industry. The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet area’s construction industry employed 134,400 workers during February, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 137,100 workers during January and a 10.3 percent decrease from last year.

As a whole, Illinois’ construction industry employed 235,200 workers during January, down from 235,500 workers during January and a 10.9 percent decrease from last year.