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New data show Chicago tech-job growth

EricLev(left) JessicZweig their 1871 Tech Center offices Merchandise Mart. The two women started Cheeky Chicago digital hub for women thproduces

Erica Levin (left) and Jessica Zweig in their 1871 Tech Center offices in the Merchandise Mart. The two women started Cheeky Chicago, a digital hub for women that produces articles and events. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:21AM



The co-founders of CheekyChicago.com, a women’s webzine, events organizer and loyalty program sponsor, will hire the largest number of employees in the company’s four-year history this year.

Their quest for up to $1 million in venture capital is allowing the co-founders, Erica Bethe Levin, 29, and Jessica Zweig, 31, to hire six to 10 people, including a chief technology officer and, perhaps, a web developer. CheekyChicago currently has one full-time employee — the creative director — other than the founders.

CheekyChicago also plans to expand to the Austin, Texas, market by year’s end, and to Los Angeles in 2014.

The company’s plans exemplify data released Monday by Dice, an online career website for technology professionals, showing Illinois — and primarily Chicago — employed its highest number ever of technology consulting workers.

The state employed 67,100 in the category, which includes computer systems and designer jobs, as of the latest data in November, said Jennifer Bewley, spokeswoman for Dice, based in New York.

From the end of the recession in June 2009 to November 2012, Illinois created 10,800 technology consulting jobs.

On the Dice.com network, 81 percent of the technology jobs posted in Illinois are in a 40-mile radius of Chicago, Bewley said.

The network posts 3,650 technology job openings in Chicago on any given day, an 8 percent increase from a year ago, Bewley said.

Nationally, more jobs have been created in the three-and-a-half years since the last recession ended than in the recoveries of 1991 or 2001, the Dice report revealed.

The technology workforce stood at 2.97 million in December 2012, the latest data available — an increase of 180,600 jobs since June 2009, Dice reported.

CheekyChicago’s Zweig said, “We look for (job) candidates who have some experience in the digital space, and who has an entrepreneurial spirit.

“At small startups, it’s all hands on deck,” she said. “We expect [employees] to live and breathe the passion it takes to contribute to a small business’ growth.”



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