Rock Island Economy

Rock Island’s economy has known periods of boom and bust, and now the pendulum is on the upswing once more. The business community in Rock Island is friendly and eager to serve.

Rock Island Economy: History

In its early years, the Rock Island economy revolved around the rivers and the railroads. The rail heads brought the lumber industry to the area. Riverboats brought shipping trade and soon Rock Island was a center of industry, making and selling railroad supplies, farm tools and agricultural equipment. As the economy of the United States shifted gears, the original industries of Rock Island moved on, and a new wave of economic pioneers settled in.

Rock Island Economy: Finance and Investment

Seven banks maintain offices in Rock Island, offering services from business and commercial lending to home mortgage lending. Two banks, Blackhawk State Bank and American Bank and Trust Company have definite Quad City economic ties. The headquarters of Blackhawk State Bank are located in Milan, IL, a suburb of Rock Island. American Bank and Trust Company makes its headquarters across the river in Davenport, IA.

Largest Employers in Rock Island

Rock Island Arsenal

The Arsenal has a long tradition in the Quad Cities, and still factors heavily in the economic health of Rock Island. The base manufactures gun mounts, vehicle parts and conducts research and development projects for America’s armed forces. Every year, the Arsenal contributes an estimated $1 billion dollars to the local Rock Island economy. The Rock Island Arsenal has won Employer of the Year awards from local organizations, including the Quad Cities Disability Employment Network. The Arsenal is also a national historic landmark and receives many thousands of visitors each year.

City of Rock Island

The City of Rock Island employs over 420 people in a wide variety of fields, making the city one of the more influential employers in Rock Island. Every day, city employees collect garbage, repair streets, monitor fire safety and maintain safe neighborhoods and streets. Without these hardworking people, living in Rock Island just wouldn’t be the same.

Augustana College

Augustana College is a private college with an enrollment of just over 2500 students. Maintaining a low teacher-to-student ratio requires the help of over 240 full and part time faculty members, plus an administrative and service staff.