Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

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.

Julie Morrison
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.

nissanusa.com

 Nissan is recalling 625,000 more cars in the U.S. as part of a growing problem with faulty latches that can allow hoods to fly open while cars are moving.
 

Lisa Autry / WKU Public Radio

Just over a month since taking office, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has already laid out a clear agenda. He’s detailed significant spending cuts, proposed a pension overhaul and targeted the power of unions. That includes a proposal to allow some parts of the state to become what he calls 'right-to-work' zones.  Neighboring Kentucky recently began a similar experiment, and could offer some clues as to what to expect in Illinois.

The governor first outlined his plan for what he called worker empowerment zones in late January, during a visit to Decatur.

wikipedia

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis joins us to talk about a sprucing up of Springfield in advance of the Abraham Lincoln re-enactment this spring.

We also discuss Springfield picking up the pace of demolishing abandoned properties and a long time business, Max Karpman Furs, is about to close for good.  

SJ-R

SJ-R Business Editor Tim Landis talks with WUIS' Sean Crawford about potential changes in the local restaurant scene. a delay in state tax return processing, a status update on home sales and a postscript for the Bel Aire Motel.

waymarking.com

Tim Landis shares with us the planned expansion of the downtown historical district.   The expansion from the footprint of the Old State Capitol to more of the surrounding landscape will allow for tax breaks for developers.    Also discussed... repairs at the Executive Mansion and Third Street rail work could begin this year.

A Company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility.  Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. 

If they are granted utility status, they would then have a shot at getting eminent domain powers to acquire land along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois.   The company's Mark Lawler says while they'd prefer to acquire the land  in negotiations, eminent domain helps with the planning:

Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

The Department of Energy says it has suspended the long-planned FutureGen clean-coal project in western Illinois.  

DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons told The Associated Press  on Tuesday the department concluded the project couldn't meet a September deadline to use its $1 billion in federal stimulus funding.  

Portrait of Lincoln, 1864
Francis Bicknell Carpenter

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse talk about this spring's Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment, Video Gambling in Springfield and solar incentives for residential and small business users.

The number of passengers flying out of Springfield is on the upswing, pork belly related festival for downtown Springfield and opposition develops to transmission line project.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis on this weeks Business Report:

flickr/jmorgan

On this week's Business Report, Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis about a new effort to collect on-line sales taxes in Illinois; Nudo Products expands & Illinois has a new agriculture director.

Bill Wheelhouse / WUIS / Illinois Issues

A large scale hog farm is on hold temporarily and low oil prices may be dampening business interest in fracking in Illinois on this week's WUIS/SJR Business Report.  Bill Wheelhouse chats with Tim Landis.

A Dallas-based company wants to build an oil pipeline through parts of central and western Illinois.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tam Landis about that and other issues on this week's business report:

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 
Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

Flickr/Images_of_money

A new report predicts an uptick in home sales in Illinois in the coming year. Although a number of potential homebuyers are still sitting on sidelines. The forecast for housing prices in the coming year shows some increases, but not the kind of gains experienced in the last couple of years. 

Geoffrey Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois says while the housing market continues to recovery, he says millennials would rather rent than buy.

Agribusiness company Archer Daniels Midland says it plans to
open a new informational technology center next year in Kentucky that will
eventually employ about 200 people.
 
The Chicago-based company said Thursday that the new center will open in the
second half of 2015 in Erlanger, Kentucky, with about 100 contractors and ADM
employees and eventually expand.
 
The center will be in the same complex as ADM's WILD Flavors offices in
Erlanger. The town is about 15 miles southwest of Cincinnati.
 

The City of Springfield has reached a deal to have the former Esquire Theater demolished. 

The theater closed over a decade ago and the building has remained boarded up since then.  That's despite sitting along a busy stretch of MacArthur Boulevard near South Grand.   Alderman Joe McMenamin says the property's owner has agreed to tear down the building by spring.  The city's ordinance to begin fining vacant property owners was a factor.  He says the threat of fines also made potential buyers nervous:

gcak12.org

The leading cause of on-the-job deaths in Illinois is vehicle accidents. 

172 people died on the job in Illinois in 2013, up  from the year before.   Almost a third of those deaths came from transportation accidents.   Laura Johnson is the Executive Director of the Iowa-Illinois Safety council.

"It really doesn't matter where your employee gets hurt does it? It is still a catastrophic event for your organizations. So we really push defensive driver training for our member companies".

Tim Landis chats with Bill about the purchase of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, layoffs at Benedictine University and Viper Mine Files Its Application for Expansion.

Pages