Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

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.

Doug looks at soybean leaf
Illinois Soybean Association / YouTube

All around Doug Schroeder's farm in Bellflower in southeastern McLean County, there are remnants of a more profitable time.

 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.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

State Farm Bank has been ordered to change its practices after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found it violated federal law by improperly obtaining consumer credit reports and failing to quickly correct bad information it was supplying to credit reporting agencies.

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

When you watch Rivian’s promotional videos, their electric vehicles are always speeding across the beach, winding through a forest, or heading to some sort of adventure.

That’s not Steve Smieszek.

Rodney Davis speaks
Jeff Roberson / AP

The House on Wednesday easily passed the farm bill, a massive legislative package that reauthorizes agriculture programs and food aid.

Tricia Griffith speaks at ISU
Lyndsie Schlink / Illinois State University

An Illinois State University grad who rose through the ranks of insurer Progressive has become the first woman named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year.

Michael Tipsord
State Farm

State Farm's CEO was named to Gov.-elect JB Pritzker's growing transition team on Monday.

Jim and RJ
Ryan Denham / WGLT

There's no guarantee of success in the auto industry, especially for an electric vehicle startup like Rivian. But there was a moment when John Shook from Rivian's board of directors knew it was in good hands.

Rivian signage
Ryan Denham / WGLT

This week in a packed LA Auto Show presentation room, the crowd hooped and hollered when Rivian’s electric pickup and SUV pulled on stage for their big debut.

Crowd swarms pickup
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The electric automaker Rivian earned a lot of good press, consumer curiosity, and even a few jaw-drops this week as its pickup and SUV were finally revealed at the LA Auto Show.

But will those translate into sales?

RJ with the pickup truck in LA
Ryan Denham

Rivian wowed a crowd of investors and other VIPs on Monday as the EV startup’s pickup made its first public appearance under—and in front of—the stars in Los Angeles. 

Truck in the dirty
Rivian

Rivian’s pickup knows how to make an entrance.

Its headlights (and really the entire front end) are signature. Instead of horizontally shaped, the oval headlights are vertical—like you’re looking down at two LED-illuminated mini stadiums. They’re connected by a horizontal bar of light stretching side to side.

Local Unemployment Rate Rises In October

Nov 21, 2018
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The Bloomington-Normal area economy's unemployment rate increased by half of a percentage point between September and October, rising to 4.1 percent.

Danny Kogan

Illinois State University’s College of Business hosted its 8th annual Startup Showcase this month, with 15 student entrepreneurs competing for cash prizes to advance their business plan.

Rivian screenshot
Rivian / YouTube

Two years ago when Bloomington-Normal first met Rivian, it looked like a one-man band. R.J. Scaringe was seemingly the face, the brains, and the extent of the operation.

Not anymore.

Power pole
Ameren

Ameren Illinois has won approval from state regulators to begin construction next year on a $21 million transmission line project that will stretch across McLean County.

Interior of Green Top
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

With a successful fundraising campaign keeping the doors open, Green Top Grocery will turn its attention to the busy holiday season.

Pabts on a shelf
Ivan Moreno / AP

Pabst Brewing Company and MillerCoors are heading to trial to settle a contract dispute in which Pabst accuses the brewing giant of trying to undermine its competitor by breaking a contract to make their products.

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.

Scaringe speaks
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal residents won’t have to wait very long after the LA Auto Show to see Rivian’s first two vehicles firsthand—or to shop for one.

West Bloomington Revitalization Project
Facebook / WBRP

Anyone looking to start or expand a business in west Bloomington can get financial help from a new microloan program.

Biaggi's
Eric Stock / WGLT

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

Deanna and Adam
Ryan Denham / WGLT

What’s the average commute time in Bloomington-Normal? How many patents do our entrepreneurs win each year? What’s the median rent for those living in the Twin Cities?

Laurie Bell and Arthur Haynes
Eric Stock / WGLT

A group of business owners and west Bloomington advocates has launched an effort to bring a full service grocery store and shopping plaza to that part of the community.

Tony's Tacos storefront
Facebook / Bloomington-Normal Restaurant Scene

Bloomington-Normal tends to get excited whenever a new chain restaurant opens. But this fall there are several locally opened restauranteurs who are opening their doors to customers.

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