Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Dollar Tree sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Julie Catey of Broadwell loves shopping at the Dollar Tree store in neighboring Lincoln.

Mark Robinson teaches a class
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Four years ago, the big story in the Bloomington-Normal economy was the closure of Mitsubishi’s manufacturing plant and the loss of 1,200 jobs. Some workers got retrained and found new jobs. Others left the area forever.

Mike and Becky Williams
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker made good on his promise when he signed recreational cannabis into law last month.

April drives a bus
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Unit 5 is trying to recruit more bus drivers for next school year by showing them that it’s not as intimidating as it looks.

Protesters hold Fight for $15 signs outside a restaurant
M. Spencer Green / AP

McLean County’s consistently low unemployment rate has long been a point of pride. (Thanks, State Farm and Illinois State University.)

Yet the jobless rate doesn’t tell the whole story of what it’s like to live and work here.

Jim Durkin and WIlliam Petersen at the Illinois House chamber
Doug Johnson

Two Bloomington arts programs are among the dozens statewide which are hoping to cash in on a one-time windfall of state funding.

Janet at the counter
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Janet Mariani needed a home for her first business—an ice cream shop. She chose Downtown Bloomington.

Original Steak n Shake location
McLean County Museum of History

Greg Snodgrass started at Steak ’n Shake as a bus boy in 1979 in Bloomington-Normal.

Mennonite Hospital Redevelopment Area
Eric Stock / WGLT

The City of Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University are ramping up marketing efforts to find a buyer for the former Mennonite Hospital and Electrolux site.

How The Trade War Is Hitting B-N's Small Businesses

May 16, 2019
Mary Cullen / WGLT

A Bloomington-Normal small business owner claims the Trump administration isn’t telling the truth about tariffs.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm has denied the allegations of a federal lawsuit filed by two New York men who say they were fraudulently recruited into an agent training program and improperly denied employee benefits.

RJ on stage
Ryan Denham / WGLT

If all goes as planned, in a few years Rivian will be one of McLean County’s largest employers. Around 1,000 employees at its Normal manufacturing plant will be cranking out Rivian electric vehicles and skateboard platforms for other automakers.

But for now, local unions say Rivian isn’t being a good neighbor.

Rivian skateboard and SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

An auto industry expert says Rivian’s partnership with Ford is good news for both companies—and possibly for the Bloomington-Normal economy too.

Couple in their home
Elaine Thompson / AP

While most millennials are preparing to buy their first home, those in Illinois are holding off on joining in the American Dream.

Heartland Truck Driving Training Student Holli Hays
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The American Trucking Association estimates the industry is short at least 50,000 drivers nationwide. The association estimates that number could triple by 2024 as older drivers retire.

Picture of an H2 hotel
Town of Normal

The Normal Planning Commission will take up a proposal for a new hotel in the Constitution Trail Center on the north side of town.

Growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in Illinois is legal, and it's looking more likely that the state will legalize a recreational program as well. But one crucial component that remains illegal is for banks to do business with marijuana-related companies. 

Peoria Area Economy Leads To Favorable Job Market

Feb 26, 2019
CENTER FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, BRADLEY UNIVERSITY

The Peoria metropolitan area is experiencing low layoff rates and more jobs being advertised, leading to a favorable job market.

That’s according to Bradley University’s fourth-quarter composite index.

Maywood, Pritzker, and Guzzardi at a press conference
Governor JB Pritzker / Twitter

Illinois could soon be the fifth state on the path to a $15 minimum wage.

City Hall
Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington has suspended its business registration program.

Illinois lawmakers are moving quickly to draft a plan for a minimum wage increase. But, there are competing ideas on how to approach it. 

 Elliot Richardson speaking
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The leader of the Small Business Advocacy Council said the near 800 day-long state budget impasse set small businesses up for a rocky relationship with Illinois government.

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

Cereal Maker Shuts Down In Gridley

Dec 14, 2018

UPDATED 10 a.m. | America’s declining appetite for breakfast cereal was a key factor in this week’s decision to close a Gridley facility where 115 employees are now out of work, company officials said.

BN Advantage / Flickr

Sales tax revenues are up marginally in Bloomington-Normal, an increase of 1.4 percent through the first three quarters of the year.

Bernard Goitein / CENTER FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, BRADLEY UNIVERSITY

Bradley University’s third quarter checkup on the Peoria area economy shows continued positive performance with unemployment rates remaining low at 4.8 percent. That’s down nearly half a percent from this time last year.

Combine with corn
Seth Perlman / AP

Nearly 1,000 acres of high-quality farmland are expected to turn into millions of dollars in donations to Illinois Wesleyan University and two other nonprofits during a highly anticipated auction Tuesday.

Illinois gas prices are higher than this time last year.

Statewide prices are at an average of $2.82 per gallon. This is down from last month, but about 30 cents more expensive than October 2017.  AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher says there are a number of economic factors involved.

“This fall, Illinois saw a number of issues from local refineries, which pushed prices higher. Also, supply and demand have been affecting prices quite a bit this fall,” she said.

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will take up the $29 million Trail East project proposal Monday.

Biaggi's
Eric Stock / WGLT

When Todd Hovenden opened Biaggi's Italian restaurant in Bloomington in 1999, he had never run a restaurant before. 

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