Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

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.

Marriott exterior
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal hotel industry ended 2018 with the lowest occupancy rate of any metro area in Illinois. And things aren’t much better halfway through 2019.

Door at store says Were Hiring
Charles Krupa / AP

After several months of rising unemployment rates and fewer local positions, the Bloomington-Normal area economy got some good news in Thursday’s state jobs report.

Construction worker at a home project
Charles Krupa / AP

Prices were up but the pace of sales slowed in May as the Bloomington-Normal housing market entered its busy selling season.

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.

RJ and Alex
Rivian / YouTube

UPDATED 12:10 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian has announced two new sustainability efforts, including plans to grow food outside its Normal manufacturing plant that will be served to its employees.

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.

Worker welding
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

A new report makes the case that manufacturing is still a vital cog in Illinois’ economic engine—especially downstate.

unemployment office signage
BYTEMARKS /CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR

The Bloomington-Normal area economy has lost 1,000 jobs in the past year, mostly in the financial services sector, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Lincoln stares off into distance
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Surrounded by farmland as far as the eye can see, Lincoln Slagel showed off a crop you don't see too often here in central Illinois: hops.

Bloomington-Normal Unemployment Rate Rises In March

Apr 25, 2019
LYNNE SLADKY / AP

Unemployment is up in the Bloomington-Normal area, with 4,650 people out of work, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

Bill Ford and RJ Scaringe
Ford Motor Co.

Ford plans to invest $500 million in Rivian and use the electric vehicle startup’s skateboard platform to build a new battery-powered vehicle, the companies announced Wednesday.

AP Photo/Mike Groll

Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part GLT series on how video gambling has played out in Central Illinois. From Monday: Gambling experts and a recovering addict discuss the social costs of gambling.

AP Photo/Mike Groll

Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part GLT series on how video gambling has played out in Central Illinois. Coming Tuesday: A deeper look at the effects of video gambling on local government budgets.

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.

We're Hiring paper form
Lynne Sladky / AP

The Bloomington-Normal area economy has lost 1,300 jobs in the past year, helping drive up the unemployment rate, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.

For Sale sign outside a home
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal real estate market is off to a strong start in 2019, with sales and prices up even as low inventory continues to make it a seller’s market.

Rivian plant exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Work is underway on the $1.3 million first phase of a major office remodel at the Rivian plant in Normal.

State Farm sign on building
Staff / WGLT

State Farm said Wednesday that it has found a buyer for its downtown Bloomington building.

Satadru Sengupta
Ryan Denham / WGLT

On paper, it looks like a battle to the death: Legacy insurers like State Farm facing off against a wave of tech startups looking to disrupt their entire business model. It’s Airbnb versus hotels, or Uber versus cabs, all over again.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Lower catastrophe losses helped offset a rocky year for State Farm’s stock portfolio in 2018, leading to the largest operating profit in years for the insurer’s property-casualty business, the company announced Friday.

Gann family
Cindy Gann / Courtesy

Tax time is here. Bloomington-Normal residents are sitting down to do their taxes or lugging their W-2s and other documents to their accountants, as the April 15 filing deadline looms.

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.

Amazon Prime truck
Ryan Denham / WGLT

This week’s Reuters report that GM and Amazon are considering investments in the electric startup Rivian raises all sorts of questions.

Why? How much? And what does this mean for Bloomington-Normal?

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

UPDATED 9 a.m. | Amazon and General Motors are considering making investments in Rivian that would give them minority stakes in the electric vehicle startup, according to a published report.

How #MeToo Is Scaring Men From Mentoring Women

Feb 12, 2019
Kyle Ciani and Scott Jordan
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Women make up less than 5 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. That leaves most women to be mentored by the men who hold positions of power.

But in the era of #MeToo, some men are growing nervous about taking on a female mentee for fear of a sexual harassment or assault claim being filed against them should the mentorship go awry.

Beaufort Street buildings
Google Maps

McLean County could soon be getting its fifth craft brewery—and its first in Uptown Normal.

Fight for $15 rally
M. Spencer Green / AP

With a minimum wage increase bill awaiting a vote in the Illinois Senate, the McLean County Chamber of Commerce said they do not “outright oppose” the jump to $15 an hour.

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