Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Prometheus Books

Businesses strive to be more efficient.  Often, that comes at the expense of jobs.  But Peter Wenz sees a way all can benefit. 

In his book Functional Inefficiency, he examines how some of the most labor-intensive sectors also are inefficient.  But they employ people and, in turn, help the overall economy.

We talked more with the author, who is also a Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Despite the U.S. being reliant on China for exports, many Americans have a hard time understanding what is taking place with the world's largest economy. 

We figured it was a good time to bring in Roy Wehrle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Illinois Springfield. 

sj-r.com

On this week's report Tim and Bill discuss some hi-tech jobs coming to Springfield, a drop in soybean prices and some big piles of rubble.

Every August, Spain's countryside comes alive with fiestas.

A jolly trombone player prances through a crowd of revelers in Cantalejo, a small town about 1 1/2 hours' drive north of Madrid. But the hubbub is deceiving — because hardly anyone actually lives here. People come one week a year to party in the villages of their ancestors. During the other 51 weeks, towns like this are deserted.

University of Illinois

Do you think downtown Springfield parking is a challenge? Study says about 50% of spaces are used.

That is among topics Bill and Tim discuss on this weeks biz report:

NASA

Asbestos in a demolition project on Springfield's north end, Krispy Kreme coming to town and "Saving A Seal"

On this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report Bill and Tim talk about Obama's energy announcement and Illinois coal,  a Sangamon County wind farm and an update on local hospital construction.

hilton.com

Spingfield's "skyscraper" will be changing labels at the end of the year.  Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse chat about the transition of the Springfield Hilton on the Business report.

Mitsubishi Motors says it plans to stop U.S. production at its facility in central Illinois and sell the plant.
 
Dan Irvin, tthe company's North American spokesman, said Friday that the Japanese automaker reviewed its global supply chain and decided it was necessary to end production at the plant and find a buyer.

Justin L. Fowler/The Journal Register

Tim chats with Bill about saving the iconic seal from the remnants of the Bel Air Motel & an Emerald Ash Borer infestation at the State Fairgrounds.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

The SJ-R's Tim Landis talks about the Logan County wind farm proposal, gives us an update on demolition around Springfield and a Springfield based company is growing.

SJ-R

Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal-Register, talks about 3 downtown Springfield building projects.  Historic items were discovered during the work being performed by Rick Lawrence, whose ultimate plan is for apartments, offices, restaurants, etc.

Also, Magro Meats and Produce is looking to open this fall in the former Eagle grocery store along Stevenson Drive. 

SJ-R.com

Each week, State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis joins us to talk about area business news. 

SJ-R.com

Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal-Register, joins WUIS' Sean Crawford to discuss who is interested in developing the YWCA block in downtown Springfield.  7 developers submitted letters to the city, although only one was local.

Ruler Foods, a discount brand of Kroger, is looking to make MacArthur Boulevard its second Springfield location.  There is already a story on Sangamon Avenue.  The company has a contract to purchase the former Esquire Theater,  but there is no construction schedule.

bluffstone.com

Developers are moving forward with plans to bring student housing to downtown Springfield. But it's not clear whether the city council is on board.

siumed.edu

Springfield's population is expected to increase over the next quarter-century but at a lower rate than in recent years.  Tim Landis of the SJR discusses his reporting on the issue with Bill Wheelhouse.  Also a different Parsons in bankruptcy court and goodbye New Coney Island.

State Farm

State Farm Insurance Cos. says Chief Operating Officer Michael Tipsord will become the private company's next CEO in September and its first new leader since the mid-1980s.  

In a statement Thursday, the Bloomington-based company said Tipsord will take over for CEO Ed Rust Jr. Rust has been CEO since 1985. The 64-year-old Rust will remain chairman of the company's board.

The train controls that were lacking in Philadelphia will be in place when Illinois high speed rail happens... if the state will spend the money.

Episode 625: The Last Job

May 22, 2015

There are some very smart people out there arguing that machines and computers are stealing our jobs. And that when these jobs go away, they won't be replaced. They think that in the future, there will be fewer and fewer jobs.

In the short-term, that's a big problem, but in the long-term, it could be great news. If robots are doing all the work, people can just relax, right?

Flickr/straightedge217

In addition to the Bel-Aire Sputnik getting re-furbished, Tim talks about fundraising for fixes at the Executive Mansion and a Realtor trade group expanding:

Tim Landis headshot
SJ-R.com

Bill Wheelhouse and Tim Landis talk about a public forum this week on plans to improve the neighborhood near Lincoln's home.

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse discuss the appointment of a new state fair director and what his charge may be.

Tim Landis talks about the efforts of Brandt in Beijing on this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report.

Local employers seem to be optimistic about the Sangamon County economy in the year ahead.

The twice yearly survey gives researchers a read on what local leaders think about the economy. 

Ashley Kirzinger with the U of I Springfield's Survey Research Office says the latest report shows a big jump in the expectations of local employers and a 36 point increase in  the overall economic outlook from four years ago.

Illinois General Assembly

The Illinois Senate this week may vote on a plan to create a "one stop shop" for people wanting to set up businesses in Illinois

The measure would require the state to set up a web site that provides details on the costs and links to the forms and information for setting up a business in Illinois.  Deerfield Democrat Julie Morrison is the sponsor.               

"This will serve everybody from the person who's starting a cottage business in their home to a really large business coming forward with a lot of employees," said Morrison.

On this week's WUIS-SJR Business Report Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse chat about an impending decision regarding a hog farm in Menard County and an odd court appearance for a former area businessman:

Hillard Family photo in field
Tonya Hilliard

Last year, Illinois was one of a handful of states that lost population. More than 90,000 people moved elsewhere.  It became a campaign issue for Governor when then candidate Bruce Rauner criticized the state's lack of friendliness to business. And it has others  throwing up caution flags.   The numbers don't mean mean there is a crisis, or even a real clamor, to leave the state.                     

Unemployment continued to fall in Illinois in February, hitting 6 percent for the first time since 2008.  

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Tuesday that the jobless rate fell to that level from a January rate of 6.1 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February.

Unemployment has now fallen in Illinois for 11 of the past 12 months. In February 2014, the jobless rate was 7.9 percent.  

A series of executive moves for a local employer on this week's WUIS SJR Business Report with Bill Wheelhouse and Tim Landis.

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