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GE Capital Expanding Chicago Work Force

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May 27, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

GE Capital plans to nearly double the number of its employees in Chicago to more than 2,000, in part because of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s economic plans for the city, according to an Associated Press report.

Officials with the financial services arm of General Electric joined Emanuel at a news conference, saying 500 of those new jobs – skilled commercial, technical and regulatory positions – would be added within the next year. The other 500 jobs would come in the next few years.

The company also is looking for a new office in Chicago to accommodate the growing work force.

During his mayoral campaign, Emanuel touted his relationships with business and government leaders from his time as an Illinois congressman and when he was President Barack Obama’s chief of staff. Monday’s news conference served as a reminder of his national stature, as well as a pep rally for Chicago.

Emanuel, who is trying to attract business to the nation’s third largest city to help overcome its budget shortfall, downplayed the effect his relationship with GE CEO Jeff Immelt may have had on the GE Capital decision. However, the mayor mentioned that because he had Immelt’s phone number and e-mail address, he was able to set up a meeting in March.

“Having a personal relationship obviously didn’t hurt,” Emauel said. “It pushed it a little, tilted it a little.”

But, he said: “If this didn’t make economic sense to GE and their bottom line, they wouldn’t have done it. … You’re not going to do this as a favor.”

Chicago’s projected budget deficit next year has been estimated at $500 million to $700 million.

One GE executive said Emanuel’s “economic platform” helped prompt the company to bring more jobs to the city, saying Chicago is the right place to expand.

“There is a wealth of financial services and banking talent available to us in the city of Chicago at a very good value,” said Daniel Henson, President and CEO of GE Capital, Americas.

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