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Roger W. / Creative Commons

Heavy equipment-maker Caterpillar Inc. plans to put hundreds of jobs in Arizona with the selection of Tucson as the location of new consolidated offices for the company's mining and technology division. Illinois, Wisconsin, and other locations around the world will lose some jobs.

Rauner Takes Turnaround Agenda Tour To Peoria

May 3, 2016
IPR

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited a startup incubator in Peoria Tuesday touting his pro-business agenda.
Governor Rauner greeted a room of young business owners, software developers and designers essentially saying 'I Was like you once.'
 
“I was a venture capitalist myself for 32 years before going into public service. I know firsthand how hard it is to start a business and build a business, how much risk and sacrifice and sweat and worry is involved in it,” said Rauner.
 

Vicky Hugheston / Creative Commons

Economic growth continues its slowdown, according to the University of Illinois Flash Index.

The measure of the state’s economy based on state tax receipts produced a reading of 104.7 in April. That’s the second month of consecutive declines, and the lowest reading since December of 2012.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Mitsubishi Motors North America has sold its plant in Normal to an industrial reclamation firm.

Maynards Industries is a Detroit-based company that will take possession of the plant in June.

Mitsubishi says it does not know Maynards' plans for the site and equipment, but are aware they are in discussions with various parties.

Portillos

Portillo's hot dogs will open a restaurant in Normal in 2017. The Oak Brook based restaurant chain is not yet announcing a location or opening date.

Personal Finance 101

Apr 27, 2016
moneysmartweek.org

This is Money Smart week designed to bring the Bloomington-Normal community up to speed on financial literacy issues.

WGLT's Willis Kern sat down with Illinois State University professor Tamra Davis to talk about financial literacy. Davis is an assistant professor of business education, and created a general education course for her students to help improve their financial literacy.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Unemployment in March was 6% for the Bloomington Normal area. The State Department of Employment Security says that's an increase of nearly one and a half points from the same month last year.

Illinois House Committee Clears Video Gaming Expansion

Apr 14, 2016
brownpau / Flickr

A measure that would expand “video gaming” in the state passed out of a House committee Thursday.

It would allow licensed businesses that create alcoholic beverages to also have a gaming license.

It would apply to a Tilton business called Rumshine, which makes flavored rum, as well as other craft distillers across the state that want to offer the video gambling machines.

Anita Bedell, a long-time anti-gambling activist, says there are already too many video gambling sites – and they take advantage of people who are already poor.

Happy Equal Pay Day

Apr 12, 2016
Abbie Rowe / JFK Presidential Library & Museum

McLean County's first observance of Equal Pay Day highlights the $.23 an hour difference between what men and women get paid. The Keynote speaker at the event held at the YWCA is Diane Zosky, director of the School of Social Work at Illinois State University. She says employers can get away with paying women less in large part because of a national culture of secrecy surrounding pay. Zosky says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into a proposal to change that.

Ralph Weisheit

A development entity is urging the Bloomington and Normal City Councils to talk about a sales tax revenue sharing agreement.

Staff / WGLT

Most people knows Illinois State University is one of Mclean County's largest employers and a significant part of the business climate. But, perhaps they aren't sure just how large.

Staff / WGLT

There's evidence the state budget standoff is hurting the economy in Illinois and in Bloomington Normal.

LendingMemo.com / Flickr via Creative Commons

February unemployment rates increased in all of the metro areas of Illinois compared to last year.

Bloomington's unemployment rate sits at 6.3 percent, but there were job gains in financial services, education, and health services with an estimated 6,200 people in search of work. For Peoria, unemployment hit 8.1 percent with around 15,000 people looking for jobs.

Governor In LeRoy To Push Agenda

Mar 29, 2016
Staff

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is keeping the pressure on Democrats with a series of stops through the state. One was at the LeRoy High School, still flush from winning the state 1-A boys basketball championship. Rauner stopped to chat with students and answer question in the library after a tour of the facility. When asked how the Illinois Supreme Court ruling on back-pay will affect negotiations with unions, Rauner said he'd like to do away with raises based on seniority, and replace it with a merit-based model. The Governor also said workers should make their own pension decisions, not the union. He said money saved through those measures would save the state's schools.

Paul Postiaux / Flickr via Creative Commons

Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville sees President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba as just the start of improved relations with the island country.

ADM Workers Vote Down Union

Mar 24, 2016
Dan / Facebook via Creative Commons

Maintenance workers at Archer Daniels Midland Co.' BioProducts plant in Decatur have voted against joining the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Home Sales Boast Healthy Start To Year

Mar 22, 2016

Last year was pretty healthy for the twin city housing market, but 2016 is off to an even better start with close to 5% more sales than a year ago.

Flames have destroyed a Bloomington business. Bloomington Fire Department investigators now say the blaze, at a woodworking firm in the 500 block of South McClun Street is suspicious in nature.

Bloomington Police are assisting BFD with the ongoing investigation. Firefighters arrived on the scene a little after 6 AM Tuesday.

Miller Whiteside Woodworking repaired furniture and made cabinets and countertops. The fire department reports no injuries.

 

RogerW / Flickr

Caterpillar expects its first-quarter results to come in below Wall Street's view as it continues to deal with weak product demand.

Illinois Delegation Heads To Cuba

Mar 16, 2016
Balint Földesi / YouTube via Creative Commons

Three members of Illinois' congressional delegation will accompany President Barack Obama to Cuba this weekend.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr

It's not difficult to pile up steep credit card debt quickly. What is difficult is paying that debt down. Willis Kern and Edgar Norton have some advice.

State Unemployment Up During January

Mar 10, 2016
LendingMemo.com / Flickr via Creative Commons

CHAMPAIGN- The Department of Employment Security says Illinois' unemployment rate rose again in January, reaching 6.3 percent.

The department's monthly report on Thursday also noted that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revised December's figure upward to 6.1 percent rather than the originally reported 5.9 percent. The department said January unemployment was up .2 percent.

Unknown / NSA.gov

As a federal spy agency weighs where to relocate in the St. Louis area, it now is being offered free land at two sites. Several top political leaders from the Missouri side of the region say 99 acres of no-cost land is now part of the effort to woo the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to north St. Louis. Illinois leaders are also offering free land near Scott Air Force Base and have pledged $115 million for transportation improvements. Two St. Louis County sites are also in the running.

Patsy Lynch / FEMA

The Kankakee plant that once bustled with 3,000 workers building gas and electric stoves is coming down. A Chicago company has obtained a demolition permit to raze the 810,000-square-foot Kankakee Roper building on 35 acres on the city's west side. Roper moved its manufacturing plant to Georgia in 1982. General Electric Co. bought the company, and the Kankakee property, in 1987. A GE spokesman said the company has no plans yet for the property. The $1.38 million demolition should be complete by August. Buildings on the campus will be leveled to slabs and basements backfilled.

Wikimedia Commons

HyVee Grocery stores including the one in Bloomington are recalling a brand of blue cheese because of potential unwanted bacteria.

Careerlink

Many laid off Mitsubishi workers are still searching for new directions after the plant ended production last year.

Bernard Goitein / Bradley University

An economic analyst of the Peoria area says the present downturn in manufacturing employment is nowhere near comparable to the huge job losses of the 1980's.

Bernard Goitein / Bradley University

The fourth quarter snapshot of the Peoria economy is flat, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at Bradley University.

Simon Cunningham / lendingmemo.com via Flickr

Stock market volatility has been a regular occurrence, but lately the market has had more down swings than up. How should this effect the investor? WGLT's Willis Kern talks it over with Illinois State University Professor of Finance Edgar Norton.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm Insurance reported a $2 billion increase in net income in 2015, but much of that resulted from capital gains on stock investments State Farm has in other companies.

Net income for 2015 was $6.2 billion compared to $4.2 billion the previous year. State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips said the company benefited from its investment in the stock of companies that merged last year.

"Two mergers between four companies, specifically pharmaceuticals, and that helped with investment strategy and the investment profits of the company."

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