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The Chicago metro area, which includes Northwest Indiana, led the nation in corporate investment for the fourth straight year, according to Site Selection Magazine.

The Atlanta-based trade publication for the corporate real estate and economic development fields found the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area, which stretches from Indiana to Wisconsin, had 424 major projects with at least $1 million in investment, 20 new jobs or at least 20,000 square feet in 2016. The Chicago metro had nearly twice as many such investments last year as the second-place Dallas metro. 

"The Windy City keeps coming up," Site Selection Magazine said. "Chicago is a great example of a competitive global city, due to such factors as its central location, a strong cadre of universities, hard-wired digital economy infrastructure from the days of the first Mayor Daley, and forward-looking transport infrastructure harkening to the city’s role as 'hog butcher for the world,' in poet Carl Sandburg’s memorable phrase."

Chicago also has 16 four-year universities, second to only Boston, and 140,000 Big Ten grads who move there every year for entry-level professional jobs, the magazine said. The city hit an all-time high in employment last year, accounting for 85 percent of new jobs in the state of Illinois.

Illinois finished third in new and expanded corporate facilities in 2016, trailing only Texas and Ohio. Indiana did not place in the top 10, after coming in 10th last year.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.