CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by local officials and employees for the opening of a new Olive Garden restaurant on West Addison Street in Chicago. The new restaurant employs 170 people, who join the 13,800 new private sector jobs created throughout Illinois during August. Today’s event is part of the Governor’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“Illinois’ restaurant industry is thriving and establishments like Olive Garden are helping drive our economic comeback,” Governor Quinn said. “While we have more work to do, more people are working today than at any time in the past six years. This is good news for people across the state and it is thanks in part to companies like Olive Garden who are employing hardworking residents and growing our workforce.”
The new Chicago restaurant brings 170 new jobs to the community. Olive Garden, owned by Darden Restaurants, Inc., was created in 1982 and has more than 800 restaurants in the United States and Canada. Darden Restaurants has worked to open up an additional 200 restaurant locations across their brands since 2011.
“Olive Garden would like to thank Governor Quinn and the City of Chicago for their outstanding support in helping us open our first restaurant here,” Remoun Abraham, general manager of the Addison Street Olive Garden said. “We’re excited to join this vibrant community and help create local jobs, and look forward to welcoming and serving our guests.”
The culinary industry accounts for 515,600 jobs in Illinois, or about 9 percent of the state’s employment. Illinois’ tourism workforce grew to 301,100 in 2013, adding 2,400 new jobs to the state, according to a 2013 D.K. Shifflet & Associates Study. Olive Garden is one of many companies creating private sector jobs in Illinois.
Last month, employers added 13,800 new jobs to the Illinois economy. During the last five years, Illinois has added 263,100 private sector jobs. These new positions have been created at small as well as large businesses in the state.
The Illinois unemployment rate hit a new six-year low in August when it fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest rate since before the Governor took office, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 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. 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, this will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensure workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.
For more information on doing business in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.