East North Central Regional Forecast

Illinois • Indiana • Michigan • Ohio • Wisconsin

When you look at the most recent unemployment numbers in this region, one word comes to mind: Ouch! With the exception of Wisconsin, all states in the region are suffering with unemployment rates worse than the national average of 9.6%. With a 13.6% unemployment rate statewide and many of its cities at 12%-14%, Michigan’s job market is the worst in the area. Detroit’s 30% downtown vacancy rate is the highest in the United States, but Chicago’s office market is suffering, too, with 17.4% and 25% downtown and suburban vacancy rates in 2010’s second quarter, respectively. According to Grubb Ellis, the only large office projects underway in this area are an 800,000-square-foot skyscraper in downtown Chicago and a 160,000-square-foot office building in Lincolnshire, Ill. The news isn’t all bad in this region, thanks to the construction of a $546 million hospital and a $300 million wind farm in Indiana, and three large wind farms in Illinois.