Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

The owner of Eastland Mall, which last month signaled it was in trouble as tenants struggled to pay rent during the pandemic, plans to file for bankruptcy as part of a debt restructuring.

Empty highway
Jeff Chiu / AP

As COVID-19 continues to hang over the economy, more insurance companies say they’re pessimistic about revenue growth and likely to shed employees in the next year, according to a new labor market study.

Collection of coins
Eric Stock / WGLT

The pandemic has changed a lot about how we live our lives, including how much spare change we spend. It has caused a nationwide coin shortage.

Healthcare worker at a testing site
Lynne Sladky / AP

Thousands of people are traveling this summer to COVID-19 hotspots and coming back to the Bloomington-Normal and the Tri-County areas — and none of them are being told to quarantine when they return.

State Farm HQ
Staff / WGLT

State Farm’s may not be alone atop the super-competitive U.S. auto insurance business for much longer.

a picture of the osf downtown campus in Peoria
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The Peoria-based OSF Healthcare system will borrow $450 million this fall with the money financing construction of a new comprehensive cancer center in Peoria.

unemployment office signage

Bloomington-Normal's jobless rate stayed stuck in double digits in June for the third straight month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Exterior of Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The owner of a Bloomington nursing home where 11 people died after contracting COVID-19 has accepted $20 million in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program—about 200 times the average amount for a program designed to help much smaller businesses.

Melanie Rust and Erika Zilm posing for a photo sitting at counter
Tiffany Bode Photography

The COVID-19 pandemic has put tens of millions of people out of work and dramatically changed the American way of life. It's not an easy time to open a business.

Road signs at intersection
Eric Stock / WGLT

Two new affordable housing developments are coming to McLean County with assistance from federal low-income housing tax credits.

hotel exterior
Google Maps

Bloomington-Normal hotels have rolled out expanded cleaning programs in response to the coronavirus, even as they expect fewer guests through the rest of this year.

Laurie and Arthur
West Market Street Council / Facebook

The demolition of the former Fox Plaza in on Bloomington's west side has cleared the way for construction of the new Market Street Plaza.

Rivian truck in yellow
Rivian / Twitter

The electric automaker Rivian has pulled in another $2.5 billion—its largest single investment round to date—as it prepares to begin production in Normal.

For Sale sign in front yard
Ralph Weisheit

The coronavirus has cut deeply into the Bloomington-Normal economy. But one area that seems to be chugging right along is the local housing market.

Cans of beer being labeled
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal businesses and other organizations were approved to borrow at least $130 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with the most money going to restaurants and doctor’s and lawyer’s offices, according to a WGLT review of the loan data.

Rachael speaks
IBEW Local 197 / Twitter

Union leaders are calling on local governments to do more to protect workers the next time they offer tax incentive agreements to companies.

beer tap room
Lil Beaver Brewery

The pandemic has hurt so many businesses in central Illinois. But not, apparently, some alcohol producers.

'Closed' sign in business window
WGLT file photo

A McLean County pandemic-relief loan program remains unused as more options emerge for struggling businesses.

Inside empty coffee shop
WGLT file photo

A Twin City economics professor says aggressive action by Congress and the Federal Reserve helped spare an economic calamity during the pandemic. But Mike Seeborg at Illinois Wesleyan University said it will be too costly to continue these financial lifelines much longer.

Outdoor seating at restaurant
Eric Stock / WGLT

Many businesses who have been struggling since the pandemic began in March hope Illinois’ transition to Phase 4 will allow them to recover after three cash-strapped months.

Sign posted on door
WGLT file photo

Businesses, schools and other organizations are starting to reopen while reducing coronavirus risk. They also must protect themselves from legal liability if there is a breakout.

Person outside IDES office
Nam Y. Huh / AP

Another 2,800 people in the Bloomington-Normal area filed for jobless benefits for the first time in May, fewer than the two previous months but still worse than at the peak of the Great Recession, the state reported Thursday.

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

The owner of Eastland Mall says it has “substantial doubt” about its future as it’s unable to collect rent from most of its retail tenants that are struggling because of the pandemic.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Chicago will proceed with its next stage of reopening after coronavirus stay-at-home orders despite days of unrest and violence. Vandalism and violent clashes have followed peaceful protests citywide after George Floyd's death.

Edwin Land / Flickr/Creative Commons

Illinois bars and restaurants can now serve mixed-drinks to go. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law Tuesday.

For Rent signage
David Zalubowski / AP

McLean County residents struggling financially because of COVID-19 could need up to $2.7 million in housing assistance in just the next three months—and a new community coalition says it’s got a plan to meet that challenge.

Town of Normal

A decaying, unfinished industrial property in Normal could become viable again if a development agreement is approved with a Milwaukee-based firm.

For Rent sign
Nati Harnik / AP

Janis Hollins is a landlord who knows what it’s like to be on hard times.

Hollins and her husband, Andrew, were literally homeless for four days after losing their jobs and their house during the real estate crash of the Great Recession.

Raptor scanners

A Bloomington businessman says his new company’s temperature scanners may help speed up reopening the economy by giving workers and customers peace of mind.

Flexitech plant exterior
Google Maps

Flexitech Inc. plans to close its Bloomington assembly plant, putting 139 people out of work.