Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Indiana Public Media

A new study shows local businesses are optimistic about the local economy. 

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is out with its annual economic outlook.   It shows more than 80 percent of local businesses surveyed are increasingly optimistic about their own firm and that of the overall Sangamon county economy.   

SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report with Tim Landis, we discuss an effort by Magro's Meat Processing of Auburn to locate a store in Springfield.  Neighbors have rejected a plan for animal slaughtering in the area along Stevenson Drive.  Springfield's Planning and Zoning Board has also denied the request. 

Also, mixed reviews so far for bike lanes along a downtown street and a push to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to the city's downtown.

Read the latest stories from Tim Landis in the SJ-R.

flickr/Simon Cunningham

Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent, the sixth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  

The latest figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008, when it was 6.6 percent.  

There are 40,600 more jobs than one year ago, the department said.  

LegacyPointe.net

A major retail development planned near the Scheel's store in Springfield will now involve the company that runs White Oaks Mall.

Simon Property Group has joined with Global Outlet Management to build 80 outlet stores at MacArthur Boulevard and I-72.

It's being called a 50/50 partnership.  David Ober, with Global Outlet Management out of Hershey, Pennsylvania, says the two companies teaming up means the development will be opening next year.

commons.wikimedia.org

 U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that the doors won't latch properly on some Ford Fiesta subcompact cars.
 
 The probe announced Monday by covers about 205,000 Fiestas from the 2011 through 2013 model years.
 
 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 61 complaints about the doors. Some said the latches wouldn't catch. A dozen said a door opened while the cars were being driven. The agency says one person was hurt when a door rebounded after an attempt to close it.
 

UKberrinet/flickr

Supporters of high-volume oil and gas extraction said Wednesday that they'll seek dozens of changes in proposed rules to govern the practice in Illinois that appear to violate a hard-won compromise between industry and environmentalists.  

A coalition of industry groups will outline more than 65 areas of concern to a legislative panel that must decide whether the rules _ written by the Department of Natural Resources to implement a new hydraulic fracturing law _ can take effect as written, said Mark Denzler vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.  

SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis explains residents are upset about a plan to open a meat market along Stevenson Drive in the old Eagle Supermarket building. The concern comes from a proposal to allow animal slaughtering on site.

Also, Legacy Pointe was supposed to have had outlet stores and a lot more by now.  The delay of development has led to questions about the project ever coming to fruition.  

And, Downtown Springfield Inc. could be running out of money as early as next month. What happened and will the city come to the rescue?

SJ-R.com

This week, State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis tells us about the growth of Casey's General Stores and the company's plans for the future. 

We'll also get an update on the case against THR and Associates founder Jeff Parsons and the decline in farmland prices.

SJ-R.com

Ameren has begun a huge upgrade of gas lines that could take a decade to complete. 

The State Journal-Register's Tim Landis tell us while the company says it's needed, consumers will be paying for the work. 

The start of construction on an underpass along Carpenter Street is part of Springfield's rail relocation.  A groundbreaking was held for that project in the past week. 

Also, Pease's Candy is known for the pink box it's had since the 1930's.  But the packaging is getting a bit of a facelift.  

SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, Sean Crawford talks with the SJ-R's Tim Landis about efforts to re-develop property along MacArthur Boulevard that was the home to the Esquire Theatre.  One developer has pulled out and nearby residents have their ideas on what should happen there.

The discussion also centers on downtown Springfield traffic.  It's on the minds of businesses and residents in that area.  There's a plan to slow things down and make it more pedestrian friendly.   

VisitSpringfieldIllinois.com

Historic sites. Abraham Lincoln. Food. Location. 

Whatever drives people to Springfield, the capital city is rebounding when it comes to tourism. 

Ameren.com

On this week's WUIS-SJR Business Report Tim Landis discusses Ameren's efforts to acquire land for the Illinois Rivers Transmission Line. Also the status of the Taylorville Energy Center land and a Chik Fil A coming back to Springfield.

wuis

Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past
half-century.
 
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity _ at the federal, state or local levels.
 
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year. That's according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 

SJ-R.com

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, the SJ-R's Tim Landis talks about efforts to slow the growth of video gambling in Springfield.

We also hear how one company is adding jobs at the same location another firm has been making layoffs and THR and Associates founder Jeff Parsons is told to report to court:

flickr/vagawi

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed new legislation meant to improve oversight of used-tire storage and processing sites that can pose major environmental hazards.  

Thursday's signing comes one year after a massive fire broke out at a tire-recycling facility in central Illinois.  
The June fire at J&R Used Tire Service in Hoopeston engulfed tens of thousands of tires and took weeks to extinguish. Many homes in neighboring communities had to be evacuated. The cleanup also took several weeks.  

flickr/oatsy40

The head of an Illinois coal industry trade group is panning President Barack Obama's plans for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the proposed regulations on Monday in an effort to cut power-plant carbon dioxide emissions. The Illinois Coal Association's Phil Gonet calls them ``unfair.'' He says the rules could squeeze the supply of U.S. electricity, raising rates.

Photo Credit http://www.innov8social.com @Innov8Social

Unemployment in the Springfield metro area last month dropped to its lowest level in 6 years.   The rate of 5.7 % is below both the state and national averages.   

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the Springfield area added 2,000 jobs last month, mostly in construction, educational and health services and retail.

Flickr/JimParker

Sangamon County employers have a positive outlook about the economy.  The University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office polls businesspeople twice a year for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. 

This spring's results mark the first time since 2012 that expectations were as high.   However, just over half of  those responding expected employment to stay the same in the county in the next year.     

CinemaTreasures.org/Norman Plant

Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal-Register, joins WUIS' Sean Crawford for this week's business report.

They discuss how the clock is ticking for the former Esquire Theatre property at MacArthur Boulevard and South Grand Avenue, news involving a pair of restaurants and a court weighs in on Ameren's big project for a transmission line across central Illinois.  

GSCC

Chris Hembrough said he wasn't looking for a new job.  He's been the Executive Director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past 7 years.

"I wasn't looking around, but sometimes opportunities come your way, especially when trusted folks give you a lead of advice. So I threw my hat in the ring," Hembrough said.

Hembrough was selected as the new President and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, starting July 1. 

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce has announced the next President and CEO of the organization.  Chris Hembrough will assume the duties in July. 

Hembrough has served as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2007.  Before then, he managed Fink's Superior Cleaners for 5 years.  

Hembrough is 1981 Griffin High graduate.  He also starred on the football field, going to the University of Miami and playing on that school's 1983 national championship team.

csb.gov

State environmental regulators say a former plastics plant in central Illinois where a 2004 explosion killed five people is now all but demolished and cleaned up.
 
The explosion at the Formosa Plastics plant in Illiopolis happened on April 23,
2004. Federal safety officials ruled a worker mistakenly opened a valve on a
high-temperature reactor. The small town is 25 miles east of Springfield.
 
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Kim Biggs tells The State
Journal-Register in Springfield (http://bit.ly/1lrbXc1 ) that a couple of

nrc.gov

An alert imposed after smoke was spotted at the Quad Cities Generating Station in western Illinois was lifted after eight hours.  

Exelon Generation officials say the smoke was spotted Wednesday after a pipe released water onto an electrical system.  
Spokesman William Stoermer says Quad Cities Unit 2 had been removed from service Monday so workers could replace a valve. The unit was in being restarted when smoke was detected around 1:40 p.m. The alert was lifted around 9:30 p.m.  

SJ-R

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis discusses the bankruptcy of Gold's Gym, which plans to remain open. 

Also, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's search for a new Director and Shop N Save's plans to "localize" its stores. 

Read the latest stories from Tim in the SJ-R.

SJ-R

On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report,  hundreds have been hired to work at the new Hy-Vee store on Springfield's MacArthur Boulevard.  But we still don't know an opening day for the store.  And, a Girard grocery store that's been in place for a century changes hands. 

WUIS' Sean Crawford also talks with the SJ-R's Business Editor Tim Landis about work getting closer on the Carpenter Street underpass and what, if anything, can we read into farmland prices flattening out in 2013.

flickr/kb35

Illinois' economic growth slowed in February and a University of Illinois economist says you can probably blame it on the weather. 

Some of the best Illinois has to offer will be on display this weekend in Springfield.  It's the annual Illinois Products Expo at the Orr Building on the state fairgrounds.  More than 70 companies will be represented.  

Jennifer Tyree,  Bureau Chief of Marketing and Promotions with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, says it's a variety of offerings.

planonspringfieldil.com

Auto insurance claims are up in what has been an especially cold and snowy winter across central Illinois.  State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis talks with WUIS' Sean Crawford on that topic as well as the possibility of a reality show featuring the Prairie Capital Convention Center and how supermarkets are helping the Central Illinois Foodbank with donations.

SJ-R

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis talks with WUIS' Sean Crawford about an effort to create a new downtown tax increment financing district in Springfield, community banks getting bigger and more ID checks for certain purchases.  

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