Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

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.  

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.  

flickr

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. 

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