Since the middle of the last century, the Chicago area has served as the business capital of the mid-continent. Chicago's preeminence covers finance, retail trade, wholesale trade, business services, and manufacturing. Like almost every other major U.S. city, Chicago has seen its manufacturing base erode sharply over the last 40 years. For this reason, the Chicago area looks eagerly to other business sectors to replace lost jobs and income. This Chicago Fed Letter examines the concentration and growth of Chicago's so-called FIRE industries—finance, insurance and real estate.