Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Rathna and Krishna
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Something rare is happening on Woodbine Road on Bloomington’s far east side: Someone is actually building homes.

State Farm HQ building
Staff / WGLT

State Farm said Tuesday it will offer paid administrative leave to its employees who cannot yet work from home and are caring for their children—or if they or a loved one has the coronavirus.

Women eat at JJ's
Staff / WGLT

The coronavirus is about the exact an economic cost on the many businesses and workers who rely on consumer spending from Illinois State University students.

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.

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.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm posted a smaller yet healthy profit in 2019 despite higher losses and some customers paying reduced premiums, the company announced Friday.

CIRA signage
Staff / WGLT

Passenger traffic jumped over 15% at Central Illinois Regional Airport in 2019, buoyed by a strong mix of business and leisure travelers.

AutonomouStuff car
Twitter / @BNEDC

As stakeholders consider the thorny public policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, State Farm doesn’t just want a seat at the table. It owns the table.

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 plant exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Rivian watchers have known for over three years that the electric automaker planned to invest a lot of money into its Normal manufacturing plant. Now we know how much: $750 million.

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.

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.

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

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.

State Farm office

State Farm is launching a new creative campaign on Super Bowl Sunday—and the khaki-clad Jake may return to help kick things off.

Dave and Charlie

One of the most recognizable names in the Bloomington-Normal business community has changed to reflect a shift in ownership.

Michael and Tammy
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The leaders of a newly combined real estate company are bullish on the housing markets in Bloomington-Normal and Peoria, despite slowing sales and a dip in prices in 2019.

Lifeguard on duty
David Kohl / AP

This month over a million Illinois workers who make the minimum wage got a pay increase, with another raise coming July 1. It was Illinois’ first minimum-wage increase in nearly a decade.

Rivian pickup and SUV

Rivian announced Monday that its owners will be able to use Alexa voice commands to control key vehicle features—the latest collaboration between the electric automaker and Amazon.

Blue Rivian pickup
Megan McGowan / WGLT

Rivian on Monday announced its fourth major investment of 2019—this time $1.3 billion led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price.

Keith Cornille
Staff / WGLT

Rivian is looking to hire hundreds of workers for its Normal manufacturing plant over the next few years. Heartland Community College wants to be ready to help get them trained.

Exterior of Rivian plant
Eric Stock / WGLT

Rivian completed or started over $24 million in remodeling, demolition, and construction work inside its Normal manufacturing plant in 2019, Town of Normal building permits show.

Front of Hyatt Place
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Hyatt Place hotel in Uptown Normal has a new owner.

Eastland Mall exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Eastland Mall’s owners forecast a dire future for the mall Wednesday as they tried to significantly lower their property tax bill, with one of their experts saying he doesn’t think the half-empty mall will ever recover from losing four of its five anchor stores.

Eastland Mall exterior
Staff / WGLT

Quality local journalism from WGLT depends on your financial support. We need new contributors on Giving Tuesday who will give $10 a month. Please consider a contribution to keep public media strong in Central Illinois. If you already contribute to WGLT, thank you!

Rivian employee works on battery
Twitter / @Rivian

An auto services company hopes its $350 million investment in Rivian will help it better understand the value of used batteries after they’re pulled out of electric vehicles.

Gracie Weinzierl
Ryan Denham / WGLT

2019 was a memorable year for central Illinois farmers—and not in a good way. Trade disputes cut into prices and drove up anxiety. A soggy planting season led to a late harvest. And just as farmers finally were able to get into this fields this fall, it snowed.

CVS downtown
Google Maps

Downtown Bloomington will soon be losing its CVS store.

Elon with the truck
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The electric vehicle world has changed a lot in the year since Rivian revealed its pickup and SUV at the LA Auto Show, with the Detroit automakers and others announcing their own new models.