Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

debt.org

A new report says almost one-third of Illinois homes are ``deeply underwater'' meaning that they're worth at least 25 percent less than what's owed on the loans. 

The report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac says that represents almost 775,000 Illinois homes. The report is based on data from December.  

Only Nevada and Florida fare worse, with 38 percent and 34 percent of homes deeply underwater, respectively. 

But the report has some good news.

Nationally, the percentage of deeply underwater homes is falling.  

Illinois drivers should get ready to pay more for insurance.  
Crain's Chicago Business reports (http://bit.ly/1ggCmGt ) major insurers in Illinois are raising rates.  
Northbrook-based Allstate says in a regulatory filing that rates for customers will climb between 2.5 and 3.5 percent later this month.  
Esurance rates are rising about 3.2 percent in late January, while Geico expects to boost prices by 2 to 3 percent in March.  

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At least one Illinois resident has joined those suing Target after the retail giant disclosed hackers stole millions of customer accounts.  

Chicago-area woman Chandra McPherson is the named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Chicago. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states.  

Northwestern Illinois officials want to team up with their Iowa counterparts to woo a Boeing plant that could bring more than 8,500 jobs to the Quad Cities.  

The (Moline) Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1c7choJ ) the Bi-State Regional Commission sent a letter to the two states' governors asking them to promote a regional bid for the multibillion dollar assembly plant.  
The letter was signed by community leaders in Moline, Rock Island, East Moline and Rock Island County in Illinois along with Iowa officials from Davenport, Bettendorf and Scott County.  

RepMitchell.com

An Illinois lawmaker says he wants Boeing Co. to build a new manufacturing plant in Decatur.  
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/18GfBqF ) Forsyth Republican Rep. Bill Mitchell is hoping the Chicago-based aerospace company will build its new factory in the central Illinois community.  

Boeing is looking for a location to build its new 400-seat 777X jetliner.  
Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.  

Utility regulators say Ameren Illinois needs to lower
its electricity delivery rate in 2014.
 
The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1bsYiJy ) the Illinois Commerce Commission says the utility needs to cut its delivery rate by $45
million.
The decision was announced Monday during an annual review and is set to take effect starting Jan. 1.
 
Ameren officials say they're still reviewing the ruling.    They had planned to lower the delivery rate by $37 million. 

SJ-R

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis about outlet malls planned for Springfield.  Are there enough shoppers to support all the stores?

We also discuss an expansion for Springfield Clinic and the shutdown of the final unionized mine in the state of Illinois.


What do Sangamon County employers see in the year ahead?  The fall economic outlook survey shows they have a positive outlook about their individual business and sector, but not about the overall economy.  As for jobs, nearly half expect employment rates to stay stagnant.  

WSIU

Illinois environmental officials say it will be at least a year until the start of hydraulic fracturing in the state.  
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1aG4YUf ) new state regulations for the practice are nearly complete.  

That's according to Marc Miller, the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  
But Miller says it will take months before permits are issued. That's because the state still needs to hold public hearings and collect comments.  

SJ-R.com

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis about major road projects in the Springfield area, Illinois' stake in ethanol amid questions about it's environmental impact and the fitness boom continues with the opening of another new fitness center in the capital city.

You can also read the latest stories Tim is working on at SJ-R.com

IMA

A key Illinois business leader says the state is facing tough competition when it comes to keeping jobs.  Greg Baise is President of the Illinois Manufacturer's Association.  He says controversial legislation in Illinois that would offer tax breaks to certain firms is an effort to keep pace.

Among the firms, agribusiness leader Archer Daniels Midland, which wants to move it's corporate headquarters from Decatur to a larger city.  Illinois and other states are wooing the company with promises of tax incentives.

wikipedia

State Farm Insurance Co. says it will likely move at least some of its claims services employees out of Bloomington.  

State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson said Friday that the company told employees this week that the potential move is being studied.  

The Bloomington-based company wouldn't say how many workers could be involved, where the jobs could be moved to or when. The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington reported that as of 2011 1,600 people worked at the center where the claims workers are based.  

Federal Report Supports FutureGen

Oct 31, 2013
Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

A final recommendation is still pending but the U.S. Department of Energy has said in a report that the FutureGen project in Morgan County should go ahead.  
The agency released the final environmental study on Wednesday. It says the clean-coal project should receive $1 billion in federal funding. The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/17uijEH) a final decision on if the $1.65 billion project should come by the end of the year.  

Archer Daniels Midland is on the lookout for a new home for its world headquarters.  And it's not being limited to the midwest.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ADM leaders met with Atlanta officials.

ADM has said it won't comment on sites in the running.   Other reports this week has the company looking at Minneapolis.  Chicago and St. Louis have also been mentioned as possibilities.

Incentive Plan To Keep ADM Headquarters In Illinois

Sep 30, 2013
ADM

A proposed incentive package created to persuade Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its global headquarters in Illinois is sparking debate among lawmakers.  
The proposal would give ADM a 10 percent break on utility taxes for up to 30 years and an income-tax credit. It's expected to be discussed at an Illinois House committee meeting Tuesday.  
ADM announced last week it plans to move its global headquarters out of Decatur.  

ADM To Move Headquarters From Decatur

Sep 23, 2013
ADM

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniel Midland Company says that after 44 years in Decatur, Ill., it is looking for a new location for its headquarters.
 
CEO Patricia Woertz says in a news release Monday that ADM needs what she called a global center with better access to customers and employees around the world. 
The company says it doesn't plan layoffs and will keep a workforce of 4,400 in Decatur, which also will become ADM's North American headquarters.  ADM says the new headquarters would have about 100 employees.
 
ADM is the largest employer in Decatur.

SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis joins us to talk about the possibility of faster freight trains along Springfield's Third Street corridor and an upcoming corn crop survey in Sangamon County:

SJ-R.com

The State Journal-Register's Tim Landis talks about efforts to expand the downtown Springfield Historic District, a new prototype store for Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries and a look at agriculture, a year after the drought. 

adm.com

Archer Daniels Midland says its net income fell 22 percent in the second quarter as expenses climbed. 
The agribusiness company also says it more than doubled its provision for a possible settlement of an overseas bribery probe that's being conducted by the
federal government. 

On this week's business report, we get an update on high speed rail work.   $1.45 billion in contracts awarded now in Illinois; mostly for rail upgrades but still a lot of work to get to 110 mph trains on two-thirds of St. Louis-Chicago route in late 2015.
Also, the Outlets at Springfield; A Pennsylvania developer David Ober says construction in Legacy Pointe,just south of Scheels will begin as soon as planners approve the large-scale design.  It could open next year and promises more than 80 stores and 800 to 900 jobs.

SJ-R.com

 The State Journal Register's Tim Landis speaks with Peter Gray about the growing market for e-cigarettes and the hazy regulatory environment those products remain in.  Also, the grocery chain Kroger returns to the Springfield area:

Read the latest business stories in the SJ-R

SJ-R.com

The State Journal Register's Tim Landis talks with Sean Crawford about efforts to get a Schnucks' grocery store on Springfield's east side, a couple of bank mergers in the area and what might be Springfield's oldest fitness center is up for sale.

Read the latest business stories in the SJ-R

Doug Whitley, President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says the state's underfunded pension systems are wreaking havoc in other areas.  He says the growing cost of pension payments is forcing Illinois government to spend less on areas like education and infrastructure. 

SJ-R

Amanda Vinicky talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal Register. We'll talk about Illinois' growing, and spreading, wine industry.  And what to do about high-accident intersections.  That and more in this week's Business Report.

You can read the latest stories Landis is working on daily in the SJR. 

SJ-R.com

A major medical expansion, the retail boom continues in Springfield and we update farmers’ planting progress on this week’s business report with Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal-Register:

ler.illinois.edu

Are government workers underpaid?  Bob Bruno says his research shows in many cases, they are.  He authored a study that found when comparing comparable jobs in the public and private sector, those who work for government, including teachers, get the short shrift.    Bruno is a professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois.  

He told WUIS' Sean Crawford the purpose of the study and how he went about the comparisons:

SJ-R

This week, Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register discusses the new use for the Maisenbacher House in Springfield, the city’s first major project tied to consolidation of rail traffic and a survey that shows small businesses play an big role in the area’s economy:

Landmarks Illinois

The Fernwood Mausoleum is more than just the story of a dilapidated building.  It’s a sad result for those who thought that they would spend eternity inside the enclosure located in the Greene County town of Roodhouse.

But the future for the nearly 100 bodies still housed at the mausoleum remains uncertain, nearly a century after it was built.  Costly repairs are needed.  Ray Coons, with the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, is among those volunteers working to save the site.

  The Central Illinois Foodbank collects grocery items and gives them to charitable organizations in over 20 counties. The foodbank will be moving its Springfield location later this year to a new donated facility. Kaleigh Friend with the foodbank recently joined WUIS’ Rachel Otwell for this interview:

CLICK HERE for more information about the Central Illinois Foodbank.

The survey of employers find many have positive expectations for their own firms, but have a negative overall outlook for the coming year.  Ashley Kirzinger, Director of the UIS Survey Research Office, spoke with us about the findings:

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield's Chancellor's Office, the Center for State Policy and Research at UIS and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

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