chicago-rockford international airport

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

This was a spectacular holiday season for the nation’s cargo carriers. The International Air Transport Association says 2017 was the busiest in seven years. It’s not just the big airports that are benefiting.

The Chicago/Rockford International Airport is reaping years of infrastructure investments and cargo-carrier courting. More than a billion pounds of cargo moved through the airport last year: That’s up about 50% from the previous year.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

The Chicago Rockford International Airport is touting the number of workers being sought to fill nearly 2,300 permanent and seasonal jobs with tenant companies.

That number is among the largest job-growth and economic-impact opportunities in the Rockford region in years, according to a news release from the airport authority. 


UPS is hiring 250 new workers in its air sorting hub at Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

Positions include package handlers, supervisory roles, and tractor-trailer drivers who will support a new day shift. This comes as the shipping company moves air operations from Des Moines, Iowa, to Rockford.  A UPS spokeswoman says the jobs range in pay from $10.20 to $18.75 per hour. 

The Rockford UPS facility is the company's second-largest air hub in terms of sorting capacity. The largest is Worldport, in Louisville, Ky.

UPS is adding about 240 new jobs at its Rockford air hub. 

The new positions are part of a realignment by UPS, which will be shifting air operations out of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Spokeswoman Christine Hand says the Rockford facility is well equipped to handle the expanded capacity, and the new jobs allow UPS to schedule an additional package sort during the day.  She also notes that Rockford has been a source of high-quality workers. 

Ben Jacobson/CC 2.5

One of the main arguments Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. has made in favor of its rail project is that it would act as an economic driver for the region.  Company lawyer Mike Blaszak says construction would create a significant number of jobs.

"Those of course, would be temporary," he said, "but the construction period would last at least two years."

Once the railroad is in operation, he envisions a smaller set of permanent positions operating trains, maintaining track, and other daily functions.