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Each year, Mc Cormick Place alone hosts dozens of conventions and trade shows that draw many hundreds of thousands of people and pump considerable revenue into the local economy.Millions more businesspeople, tourists, and other short-term visitors come to the city annually to shop, dine, visit museums, and take in sporting and musical events, many of them staying in the region’s tens of thousands of hotel transportation hub.Although Chicago failed to attract the automobile-manufacturing dominance it sought, its other industries thrived through much of the 20th century.It became a major radio and electronics centre during the 1920s.Besides church steeples and skyscrapers, smokestacks have long dominated the Chicago horizon.The city’s position as a rail hub and a port aided its use of the Midwest’s raw materials to produce a wide range of goods: light manufactures such as food, food products, candy, pharmaceuticals, and soap; communication equipment, scientific instruments, and automobiles; and refined petroleum, petroleum products, and steel.
Although railroading, steel, and meatpacking continued to be the largest employers, by the late 19th century manufacturing was branching into chemicals, furniture, paint, metalworking, machine tools, railroad equipment, bicycles, printing, mail-order sales, and other fields that were considered the cutting edge in their day.
Diversification, however, also made Chicago’s job market vulnerable to changes in almost any industry.
In addition, the city’s abundant multistory factory buildings, which were often located in congested districts, could not compete with newer suburban industrial parks that had their sprawling single-story plants and access to expressways.
Like all manufacturing cities, Chicago was devastated by the Great Depression.
The World War II boom involved more than 1,400 companies producing a wide range of military goods.