Economy in Peoria Illinois

Peoria’s prosperous and pulsating economy presents a perfect opportunity for you to explore the city’s financial fabric. With a history steeped in industrial might, Peoria has evolved into a bustling hub of various sectors.

From its pioneering distilleries and flourishing manufacturing industry to the emergence of retail, healthcare, and insurance businesses, this city has witnessed a remarkable economic transformation.

But what are the key factors that have contributed to Peoria’s economic success? Who are the major players driving this growth?

Buckle up and prepare to embark on an enlightening journey through the dynamic economy of Peoria, Illinois.

Key Takeaways

  • Peoria has a diverse industrial history, with early industries including flour mills, pork planting, carriage factories, pottery makers, and more.
  • Peoria was a major center for distilleries and breweries, generating significant tax revenue during the Civil War.
  • The city became a leader in farm machinery manufacturing, particularly in the production of steel plows and wire fences.
  • Peoria has been a hub for medical research and healthcare, with major hospitals and the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research located in the city.


The industry in Peoria, Illinois has played a significant role in shaping its economy, with a rich history of diverse manufacturing sectors and notable contributions to various fields such as agriculture, automotive, and healthcare.

Peoria’s industrial growth began with the establishment of flour mills and distilleries in the early 19th century, which paved the way for the city’s success in the production of agricultural equipment and machinery. The development of farm machinery by William Nurse in 1837 and the introduction of the steel plow in 1843 brought immense success to Peoria’s manufacturing companies.

Furthermore, Peoria became a major player in the bicycle and automobile industry in the 1880s, with Charles Duryea creating the first commercially available gasoline-powered automobile in the U.S.

Medical research also became an integral part of Peoria’s economy, with the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research being a key facility for the mass production of penicillin.


Retail in Peoria, Illinois thrives with a variety of shopping centers and malls, offering residents and visitors a wide range of options for their shopping needs. The city boasts several prominent shopping centers, including Northwoods Mall, The Shoppes at Grand Prairie, Sheridan Village, Metro Centre, Willow Knolls Court, and Westlake Shopping Center.

These shopping centers contribute to the city’s vibrant retail industry, attracting consumer spending and supporting retail employment in the area. However, like many other cities, Peoria has also felt the impact of e-commerce on its retail sector. The rise of online shopping has influenced consumer behavior and forced retailers to adapt to changing trends.

Despite these challenges, the retail industry in Peoria remains resilient, continuously evolving to meet the needs of its residents and visitors.


Peoria, Illinois is home to a diverse range of businesses that contribute to the city’s thriving economy. With a focus on business expansion and entrepreneurship opportunities, Peoria has experienced significant economic growth in recent years.

The city provides strong local business support and fosters small business development, creating a favorable environment for entrepreneurs and startups. This support system includes access to resources, funding, and networking opportunities, enabling businesses to flourish and contribute to the local economy.

Peoria’s commitment to promoting business growth has led to the establishment of various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, and research. These industries, along with the presence of major companies like Caterpillar and Komatsu, have played a crucial role in driving economic prosperity in Peoria.

Top Employers

With a focus on economic growth and a robust business support system, Peoria, Illinois is home to a diverse range of top employers that drive the city’s thriving economy. The city is proud to have industry leaders such as Caterpillar and OSF HealthCare, which provide employment opportunities for thousands of individuals.

Caterpillar, a renowned heavy equipment and engine manufacturer, employs around 12,000 people in Peoria. Similarly, OSF HealthCare, a leading healthcare provider, also employs 12,000 individuals, contributing to the city’s growing medical sector.

UnityPoint Health, with 4,991 employees, and Peoria Public Schools District 150, with 2,891 employees, further enhance the city’s employment landscape. Additionally, Bradley University, a prestigious educational institution, employs 1,300 individuals, fostering a culture of learning and innovation. These top employers play a vital role in driving Peoria’s economy and creating a prosperous future for the city.


Employer Number of Employees
Caterpillar 12,000
OSF HealthCare 12,000
UnityPoint Health 4,991
Peoria Public Schools District 150 2,891
Bradley University 1,300


Peoria’s thriving economy, fueled by industry leaders such as Caterpillar and OSF HealthCare, showcases the city’s commitment to economic growth and a robust business support system. The city has experienced significant economic growth, providing ample job opportunities for its residents.

With the presence of major healthcare institutions like OSF HealthCare, Peoria has become a hub for medical advancements and research, contributing to the overall development of the healthcare industry.

Additionally, the retail sector has witnessed expansion with the presence of shopping centers like Northwoods Mall and The Shoppes at Grand Prairie.

Peoria’s focus on business development is evident through the presence of companies like Bergner’s, Caterpillar, and Komatsu America Corporation.

The city’s dedication to economic growth and the development of various sectors has positioned Peoria as a vibrant and thriving community.