Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to criticism on Thursday that the city of Chicago is struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a press conference on Thursday, Lightfoot was pressed on the perception that Chicago may be having a hard time rebounding in the wake of the pandemic compared to other big cities in the country, particularly when it comes to iconic businesses like the Macy’s store on State Street.
“I don't know where you're getting that but here's what I know, over the course of this year, we've had over 31 corporate relocations, to Chicago, five in the last five weeks,” Lightfoot said. “That's a record of accomplishment and these are companies could literally choose to be anywhere in the world but they're choosing Chicago.”
When asked why the city’s work force has not returned to offices like they may seemingly have in other major cities like New York, Lightfoot argues that’s not the case.
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“What I'm seeing is a hunger and a desire to make sure that our economy as we're recovering roars back, and these indicators of corporate relocation,” Lightfoot said. “We didn't lose any major corporations which is not something that any other cities can see.”
Chicago’s unemployment rate is listed at 7.5% as of March, opposed to 4.1% at the same time last year, according to city data.
“The numbers that I look at coming from the Federal Reserve and others, tell me that Chicago's got the lowest unemployment rate of any big city in the country.”
For comparison, New York City’s unemployment rate sits at 8.8% as of March this year.
On Thursday, Illinois health officials reported 1,542 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 42 additional deaths in the last day, along with more than 89,000 vaccines administered.
The statewide positivity rate dropped to 2.2% of all tests returning positive results, and the positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven remained at 2.7%, according to IDPH data.