Big business continues to leave Chicago. What’s going on?

New York
CNN Business

Tyson Foods is the latest company to close its offices in the Chicago area, joining Boeing, Caterpillar and Citadel, among others.

The poultry producer said Wednesday it was bringing employees together at its global headquarters in Arkansas, closing three offices, including downtown Chicago, Downers Grove, Illinois and Dakota Dunes in South Dakota. About 1,000 employees work in the three offices and will start moving early next year.

“Bringing together our talented corporate team members and our businesses under one roof opens up greater opportunities to share insights and ideas, while allowing us to act quickly to solve problems and deliver solutions.” innovative products that our customers deserve and love,” said CEO Donnie King. in one release.

Tyson’s decision is another blow to Chicago’s image. McDonald’s, which is headquartered there, criticized the city for crime. CEO Chris Kempczinski recently said crime “seeps into every corner of our city” and he said he’s frequently asked “what’s going on in Chicago?”

“We have violent crime happening in our restaurants…we’re seeing homelessness issues in our restaurants. We have drug overdoses happening in our restaurants,” he told the Economic Club of Chicago last month. “So we see in our restaurants, every day, what is happening in society in general.”

He said it was difficult to recruit people to work at the company’s headquarters, noting: “One of the things I hear from our employees [is] … “I’m not sure it’s safe to come downtown.”

McDonald’s said it is staying in Chicago, but other companies leaving the city have been less forthcoming about their reasons. In an email to CNN, Tyson said the move from Chicago was not crime-related.

Boeing (BA) said in May it was leaving Chicago for Washington, DC. Society did not blame the crime. Analysts said the change signaled that he had lost the commercial race to Airbus and wanted to be seen primarily as a defense and space contractor. Boeing (BA) was based in Seattle from its founding in 1916 until 2001.

Caterpillar and Citadel also recently announced moves from Chicago to various locations outside of Illinois. Caterpillar was based in Deerfield, a suburb of the city.

However, Kellogg said in June that its new cereal and plant-based food companies will be headquartered in Chicago.

Tyson had a tough year because of inflation. He recently said “demand for chicken is extremely strong,” while demand for his higher-priced cuts of beef has softened. The average selling price of chicken rose in its latest quarter, while the average price of beef and pork fell as consumers balked at some price reductions.

Consumer demand for meat has remained strong, Tyson said, but consumers are switching between meats due to inflation. The company plans to launch new lower-priced options and also add new, larger packaging for value-seeking consumers. Tyson shares are down about 25% for the year.

Update: This story has been updated to clarify that Caterpillar’s headquarters are in a suburb of Chicago.

– Nathaniel Meyersohn of CNN Business contributed to this report.


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