Rockford is home to the second-largest Chamber of Commerce in Illinois by member size. Representing more than 1,500 member businesses, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce has lead business growth in the community for a century. In fact, in 2010, the Chamber celebrates its 100th year anniversary. Over that time, it has been a constant advocate for business growth, pro-business government legislation and investment in the community’s quality of life.
Rockford is the center of manufacturing, healthcare, employment and commerce for the more than 300,000 residents who live in or near its borders. More than 150,000 are employed in the Rockford area. The area’s top employers come from a variety of industries, including the three major healthcare systems and the college of medicine, which employ a large number of the area’s private sector employees.
The top five employers in 2008-09 were Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Health System, Chrysler Motors, Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation and SwedishAmerican Health System. Residents who work in Rockford appreciate that the mean travel time to work is just over 20 minutes. This is not something every city can say!
Rockford remains, as in the past, an important manufacturing town, with hundreds of companies as major employers and producers. It’s a world leader in the manufacturing of machine tools and auto parts and is increasingly recognized as an important center for aerospace components. Retail makes up another important sector. Over the years, Rockford has diversified itself and now is home to a broader set of enterprises, including distribution centers and call center/office operations.