Many young people leave the Peoria area for other cities when they start out on their own. But around Thanksgiving, they head home.

U of I Institute of Govt & Public Affairs

The June numbers for the University of Illinois’ Flash Index show the Illinois economy’s growth rate has fallen for two months in a row. But the economist who compiles the index isn’t too concerned. The Flash Index measured the health of the state’s economy at 105.6 in April, 105.4 in May and 105.2 in June. 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign / Department of Economics

The University of Illinois Flash Index measured the Illinois economy at 104.5 in March. That’s down a tenth of a point from February. But economist Fred Giertz says it’s still an indicator of steady economic growth.

Giertz says the Illinois economy is getting help from the strong national economy. That’s reflected in Illinois’ statewide unemployment rate of five percent in February.

Members of the Chicago City Council have approved a major slice of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's $8.5 billion proposal to overhaul O'Hare International Airport.

Continuing last year's record-setting growth, Chicago set new tourism records in the first months of 2018.

Institute for Government and Public Affairs / University of Illinois at Chicago

Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his fourth budget address to the General Assembly Wednesday amidst an ongoing fiscal crisis in Illinois. The state owes nearly nine billion dollars in unpaid bills, despite enacting an income tax increase over the governor’s veto last summer.

A congressman representing a large portion of downstate Illinois will be listening closely to President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight.

The state’s economy continues to grow slowly, according to the University of Illinois' monthly Flash Economic Index.

Peoria's Unemployment Drops, Net Jobs Grow

Jul 28, 2017
Creative Commons

Hiring was up and unemployment went down in the Peoria area from June 2016-June 2017, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Dep. of Employment Security.

The department says unemployment fell from 6.2 percent in June 2016 to 5.5 percent. Tazewell, Woodford, Stark and McClean Counties showed similar declines in unemployment, around one percent.

First Quarter Sales Show Sunnier Outlook for Caterpillar

Apr 25, 2017
Roger W / Flickr/Creative Commons

Caterpillar started off 2017 on stronger footing.

A new study shows the impact of immigrants on the local, state, and national economies. A group called the New American Economy used census data to look at all 435 congressional districts.

For this study, the group used the term immigrant to mean any person born outside of the United States, whether legal or not.

Caterpillar finished up 2016 in the red. The company released its fourth quarter and year-end reports Thurs.

Illinois Home Sales Up in 2016

Jan 24, 2017
Guy Kilroy / Flickr/Creative Commons

Sales of existing homes in Illinois were down in December, but up overall in 2016.

The trade group Illinois Realtors reports that $162,380 houses and condos were sold in the state last year. That’s up nearly 4-percent from 2015. But home sales for the month of December were down 2.8-percent year-to-year.

The statewide median home price was up 6.4-percent in 2016, at $184,000. Economic analyst Geoffrey Hewings with the University of Illinois says a lack of inventory kept home sales from going even higher.

Historic Bakery Gets Historic (New) Address

Oct 14, 2016
Trefzger's Bakery / Facebook

Trefzger’s Bakery opened in it’s new home yesterday. The official ribbon cutting on the historic bakery’s move to a refurbished old factory building is this morning at 8:30. Trefzger’s uses about 450 pounds of butter cream every day to trim the cakes and ice the cookies. With that large volume, co-owner Jeff Huebner says it was time for Trefzger’s Bakery to move to the larger building in Peoria Heights.


Governor Bruce Rauner says there are still serious issues facing the state, and he hopes a compromise can be reached so that Illinois can move forward soon.

Flazingo Photos / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in June. It was the first time the state jobless rate fell below 6 percent since 2008.  The department said Thursday in its monthly unemployment report that the state nonetheless lost 7,500 jobs for the month.

The state jobless rate fell from 6 percent in May. Nationally, unemployment was 5.3 percent in June.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is approving $100 million in business tax incentives while suspending more than $200 million in grants for social services and parks. 

Index: small changes in regional economy

Mar 9, 2015

The Pekin-Peoria economy in 2014 grew less than a half-percent from the third to fourth quarters. A measurement of 30 business indicators say the region grew point-four-percent.

Illinois drivers paying less at the pump

Dec 30, 2014

The price of a gallon of Regular-grade gasoline is now below the 2-dollar mark at many gas stations in downstate Illinois.

Analyst Patrick DeHaan, with the gas-price-tracking website, thinks those prices may be within five or ten cents of bottoming out. He says gasoline prices should start rising in January or February, when oil refineries cut back production for seasonal maintenance and retooling. But DeHaan predicts gas prices in 2015 will stay lower overall than the year before.

2014 is only halfway over, but Illinois' new fiscal year just began last week.  The state closed out its year with a billion-dollar growth in tax revenue.

After three months of declines, the U of I’s Flash Index to the Illinois economy showed a slight increase in May, up two tenths of a point, to 106.2.

The group leading the region’s new economic development strategy is looking to again use the same firm that crafted the plan. The Focus Forward Central Illinois Board is considering a contract with Vital Economy for under $100,000. The firm guided government and business officials last year in developing long-term regional economic development strategy. Focus Forward Chair Diana Hall says the firm can also help with securing economic development funding:

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission approved a settlement with an economic development consultant after months of discussion. 

Supreme Court Strikes Down "Amazon Tax"

Oct 18, 2013

The Illinois Supreme Court today struck down the so-called "Amazon tax."  As IPR's Brian Mackey reports, the decision could pave the way for businesses to make more money online.

 Audio FileIPR's Brian Mackey reporting.Edit | Remove

Some good news for Illinois' economy

Sep 9, 2013

News about Illinois' economy is typically bleak.  The state DOES have the second-worst unemployment rate in the nation, behind only Nevada. But as IPR's Brian Mackey reports, at least one outside observer is seeing at least a modest improvement.

Moody's Analytics is changing Illinois' rating from "at risk of recession" to "recovery." Moody's economist Steven Cochrane.

Brian Mackey / IPR

Earlier this year, legislation was introduced to abolish the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Administration officials negotiated a more modest set of changes, and now they've beensigned into law. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on the changes in store for economic development in Illinois.

The number of people filing unemployment claims increased a half-percent from June to July. The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports the unemployment rate at 9.4 percent in the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area. That’s up nearly 1.5 percent from the same time last year.  

State economic index shows improvement

Aug 1, 2013

The rising Flash Index shows a continually improving economy in Illinois. But the University of Illinois economist who compiles the Index says the state has not seen a corresponding fall in unemployment.  Fred Giertz with the U of I’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs says that at 9.8 percent in June, the Illinois unemployment rate has fallen more than two percentage points since its peak in early 2010. But he says it should have fallen more.

Galesburg officials talk economic struggles, successes during Obama visit

Jul 25, 2013

Galesburg city leaders say the community was a fitting stop for President Obama to kick-off his new economic focus. The city was the first location in a series of speeches for the President to sell his vision for a thriving economy. Gary Camarano is Galesburg’s Global Strategies Director. He says the city economy was rough in 2004 when Maytag closed and thousands of workers lost their jobs:

Tickets available to see President speak in Galesburg

Jul 22, 2013

President Barack Obama is set to speak at Knox College when he visits Galesburg this week. Obama will kick off a series of speeches laying out his vision for rebuilding the economy to grow the middle class. The President’s visit is Wednesday.