Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Congress voted during coronavirus outbreak
House Television / AP

An economics professor at Illinois Wesleyan University said a recession is inevitable, but flattening the curve on the coronavirus would limit the economic damage.

Tony Roma's in Bloomington.
Google Maps

Editor's note: Hours after this story was published, former Tony Roma's front-of-house manager Mary Sigler said she was just notified that employees will be getting paid March 30.

Employees at Tony Roma’s restaurant in Bloomington say their bosses stiffed them out of their final paycheck, for hours worked before the business shut down.

The staff at Fort Jesse Cafe in Normal
Facebook / Fort Jesse Cafe

Bloomington-Normal’s restaurant workers need help.

That’s the message from Nick Birky, general manager at Fort Jesse Cafe, the popular breakfast and brunch spot in Normal. His entire staff of nearly 30 people is now out of work. (Fort Jesse Cafe opted not to offer curbside pickup for customer and staff health reasons.)

Rodney Davis working at desk
Ashley Phelps

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Monday the coronavirus aid package which stalled in the U.S. Senate would provide much-needed help for small-business owners who face uncertain times.

Now hiring sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Service industry employees who have lost work due to the COVID-19 response could possibly find employment in one job sector that’s rapidly hiring to meet demand: grocery stores.

Sonny Perdue
John O'Connor / AP

McLean County farmers and landowners have been sent over $68 million in USDA trade relief payments so far—and one ag industry watcher says more may be on the way.

Unemployment Office
WGLT

One of the last jobs report to precede the full impact COVID-19 is having on the Illinois economy shows job losses in McLean County, despite a drop in the unemployment rate.

Monty Greutman / Bridgestone

The Bridgestone tire plant in Normal will shut down starting this weekend to avoid coronavirus-related problems, the company said in a news release Thursday.

Chris Koos
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said the town will enforce the restaurant and bar closure ordered by the governor because of the coronavirus.

Epiphany Farms restaurant entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker's decision to close bars and restaurants for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was just the latest in a series of developments that have upended the food service industry in Illinois in recent days.

Chicago Farmer and the Fieldnotes at a recent show at FitzGeralds in Berwyn, IL
Ron Horne

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order that all bars and restaurants in Illinois shut down until at least March 30 has delivered another blow to independent musicians already devastated in just the last week from the damage brought by the coronovirus.

hotel exterior
Google Maps

The Bloomington-Normal hotel industry started 2020 off strong.

Booking were solid thanks to big events like the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at Illinois State University. And Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington hosted three state finals for wrestling, competitive cheer, and competitive dance.

State Farm signage
Staff / WGLT

More retirements, low unemployment, and increased competition from other industries have all contributed to a “war for talent” in the insurance business, according to a hiring expert.

Ruth Handler with a barbie
Andrew Harnik / AP

You never forget your favorite toy or board game from when you were a kid. But those who invent those toys and games are often forgotten to time. Especially the women.

Steven Weisbart
Insurance Information Institute

Exposure to increased regulation and choosy customers not interested in one-stop shopping for insurance and banking are likely among the reasons why State Farm is exiting the banking business, according to industry economist.

Cash in a jar
Mark Lennihan / AP

Wages in McLean County are flat and lagging the rest of the U.S. economy despite low unemployment, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

JP's Wheel and Ale House
Eric Stock / WGLT

Video gambling has created a substantial cash windfall for thousands of businesses in Illinois since the state legalized the machines in 2009.

Containers set up at 2012 W. College Ave.
Eric Stock / WGLT

Town of Normal officials contend town council member Stan Nord continues to expand a business on his property in defiance of town zoning rules.

Former State Farm building
Eric Stock / WGLT

The company that is taking over the former State Farm building in downtown Bloomington has secured its first tenant, prompting the developer to abandon its plans to build luxury apartments.

Richard Guebert speaking at conference
Facebook/Illinois Farm Bureau

The head of the Illinois Farm Bureau on Wednesday told the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee the China trade agreement is good for the country. That's in spite of trade war damage to Illinois farmers.

Design of new building
Town of Normal

Property owners who want to demolish three aging student apartments and build a new complex are expected to face opposition Monday when their plans go in front of the Normal Town Council.

Rivian truck
@Rivian / Twitter

A landscape architect from Queens. A marketing professional in Colorado Springs. A systems engineer from Columbus, Ohio. A cancer scientist near San Diego. An electrical engineer from British Columbia.

Mark searches
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

At 10 p.m. on a snowy Thursday in late January, Kimberly Maddox and her volunteer team bundled up and wandered the streets of Bloomington-Normal, looking for something that’s often invisible: those experiencing homelessness.

Carl speaks
Jolie Sherman / WGLT

Allegiant will add its third nonstop route to Florida from Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA) in Bloomington starting this summer, officials said Tuesday.

Agracel building
Eric Stock / WGLT

A technology and logistics company has announced plans to open an office in Bloomington and hire about 150 workers within its first year.

Ron Batory
Eric Stock / WGLT

The head of the Federal Railroad Administration took to a train ride to Uptown Station to see the facility that's getting $13 million for an underpass.

Empty building on Hamilton Road
Eric Stock / WGLT

A developer has axed plans for an indoor sports recreation business near downtown Bloomington and plans to open on the east side instead.

For Sale sign
Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal housing market slowed down in 2019, and real estate agents again pointed the finger at low inventory as a main culprit.

Unemployment Office
WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal area’s jobless rate declined in December, as the local economy added 400 jobs in the past year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

Tilton family at McLean County Chamber event
Vicki Tilton

A Bloomington business owner honored for her years of service to the community said she wants to help others the way so many have helped her.

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