CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn and Uber executives today announced that the ridesharing giant is moving forward with creating 420 new jobs by the end of 2016 in a major expansion of its Chicago regional headquarters. The announcement follows action the Governor took last month to veto legislation that would have imposed statewide restrictions on Uber and prohibited it from expanding beyond its current footprint in Illinois. The event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“Through innovation and job creation, Uber is helping drive Illinois’ economy forward,” Governor Quinn said. “Uber’s new expanded headquarters will allow the company to continue its rapid growth and serve its riders and drivers throughout Illinois. While we have more work to do, Illinois is making a comeback and cutting-edge companies like Uber are a key part of it.”
“Like many tech companies, Uber started with a few people and a good idea,” Andrew MacDonald, Regional General Manager for Uber Central said. “The Uber idea spurred an entirely new industry, and the innovative nature of our business requires policymakers take the time to educate themselves on how it works and the appropriate way of regulating it. When policymakers do their homework, they soon learn that we offer access to a safer ride for everyone and bring a number of benefits to cities including higher incomes for drivers, service to neighborhoods that taxi companies ignore and fewer drunk driving incidents.”
“We are very glad that Governor Quinn understands that and chose to side with the consumer by vetoing an anti-ridesharing bill that would have prevented all Illinois cities from enjoying those benefits,” Macdonald added.
Uber’s Chicago office serves as the headquarters for the company’s Central Region that encompasses the Midwest, Texas and Canada. The more than 80 full-time employees based in the Chicago office include marketing managers, driver and rider support teams and operations experts who service more than 40 Uber cities across 16 states and provinces, including 11 in Illinois. Drivers who use the Uber platform are independent contractors.
Having outgrown its current office in just three months, the regional headquarters will move to a 56,000 square foot space at 111 N. Canal, currently being remodeled for Uber and other tenants including Twitter and Gogo Wireless.
Last month, Governor Quinn vetoed legislation known as House Bill 4075 or the “Uber bill” that would have imposed statewide restrictions on commercial ridesharing and limited Uber’s ability to grow its operations in Chicago and throughout Illinois. By vetoing the bill, Governor Quinn preserved local control and allowed cities and towns to craft regulations that meet their own unique transportation needs.
Today’s announcement follows news that the Illinois unemployment rate hit a six-year low in August when it fell to 6.7 percent. This is the lowest rate since August 2008 and a continuation of an uninterrupted drop in the state jobless rate that began in late 2013. Last month Illinois added more than 13,000 private sector jobs and the number of people employed in Illinois remains above six million, continuing a 2014 trend that has seen more people working in this state than at any time since early 2009.
Since taking office and inheriting decades of mismanagement, the Governor has enacted worker’s compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to make Illinois a better place to do business, in addition to major fiscal reforms such as pension reform and Medicaid restructuring that are restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. Governor Quinn is pushing a new tax cut for businesses that provide job training. By lowering the cost to train workers, businesses will have an easier path to creating new jobs and ensuring workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.