Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

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.

Patrick on a roof
Patrick Laughlin

Two years ago, Patrick Laughlin was looking to make a career change.

He was doing customer service and sales in an office, but he was itching for something skills-based. He’d always been fascinated by renewable energy, so he signed up for a solar energy installer training program in Bloomington.

We're Hiring paper form
Lynne Sladky / AP

The jobless rate rose in Bloomington-Normal and 12 other Illinois metro areas in December, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Friday.

Wade Jensen in the plant
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Three years ago, Wade Jensen punched the clock for the last time at Mitsubishi’s manufacturing plant in Normal.

Despite a lot of uncertainty and a weak farm economy, 2018 was a good year for sales of farm equipment. Figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers show tractor sales in the US rose 7 per cent, and combine sales jumped 18 per cent, compared to the previous year. 

State Farm building
Staff / WGLT

A new report says that insurance companies will have to be more proactive—and pay more—to find and retain employees amid a “talent crisis” for the industry.

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