Caterpillar Global Headquarters Heads South

Caterpillar Inc. has announced it will move its global headquarters from Illinois to an existing divisional office in Irving, Texas, near Dallas–Fort Worth  in another blow to metropolitan Chicago, which last month lost the Boeing Co. headquarters.

The move is “in the best strategic interest of the company,” Chief Executive Jim Umpleby said in a statement. The heavy-machinery maker has had a presence in Texas since the 1960s, it said.

Over the past decade, Caterpillar has invested in manufacturing sites far from its decades long Illinois home, expanding factories that make smaller machines in North Carolina, a remanufacturing factory in Mississippi and, most recently, in May, a $24 million, 24-job expansion for a factory that makes engine blocks in Texas.

Caterpillar Inc.’s planned relocation comes as the equipment maker and other companies expand their manufacturing bases south.

Manufacturing employment has been on the rise in many Southern and Southwestern U.S. states in recent years, according to federal data, as companies target the regions for new factories, plant expansions and corporate bases, seeking what some executives have said is a growing available workforce and cheaper real estate.

Florida, Texas and Arizona increased their manufacturing employment the most in the five years through 2021, according to the Labor Department, while New York, Washington and Illinois lost the most manufacturing workers over that same period.

Companies investing in southern parts of the country have cited benefits including growing workforces, more affordable housing, availability of physical infrastructure and quality educational systems. Some Southern and Southwestern state lawmakers have worked to make their states friendly to new or established manufacturers, letting companies deduct energy spending from sales-tax bills, for example, or providing exemptions from local property taxes and tax credits that can be resold to other businesses.

Sources: WSJ, MarketWatch, Crain’s Chicago Business