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Business and Economy

Unionized workers in several state agencies were set to lose their jobs in a week. But they'll keep them, at least for awhile longer. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Governor Bruce Rauner's office confirms: layoffs of unionized state employees are on hold. That's due to a lawsuit filed by a trio of unions.

"While it's within the authority of the governor to initiate a layoff, under the contract they can only do so for a legitimate reason." Anders Lindall is the spokesman for AFSCME, which represents some 107 workers affected by the news.

The head of the effort to rescue use of the Mitsubishi Plant says there have been some nibbles on a buyer. Kyle Ham heads both the Economic Development Council for Bloomington Normal and the Mitsubishi Task Force.

"I am personally aware of automakers that are looking at the facility and have begun to do the due diligence process."

Ham says the plant has not been on the market that long and possible buyers have a lot of work to do.

Durbin Backs Oil Pipeline

Sep 21, 2015
Enbridge LLC

A crude oil pipeline through central Illinois south to Patoka in Marion County, sees inevitable, despite concerns about the effect of a spill on creeks in McLean County. And the pipeline has a supporter in the US Senate, Democrat Dick Durbin. During a recent visit to Bloomington-Normal, the senior senator says the pipeline is the lesser of two evils. He says transporting the oil on trains has proven dangerous, and points out the state is already criss-crossed with existing oil and natural gas lines:

Illinois' unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in August but state officials point out that the number of people with jobs also declined. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said in its monthly report on statewide unemployment Thursday that the jobless rate fell from 5.8 percent in July. Nationwide unemployment was 5.1 percent in August. The department said Illinois lost a net 900 jobs in August. The number of unemployed workers fell 3 percent to 362,500. Department director Jeff Mays said the figures indicate many people continue to leave the workforce.

Home Sales Slow Seasonally

Sep 16, 2015

More homes are changing hands compared to a year ago, according to the latest twin city numbers. So far this year, 1,911 homes sold. That's up more than a hundred from a year ago. The increase is nearly 6%.  Amanda Wycoff, president of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, says inventory on the market is shrinking.

The price of a new home is about $325,000. That's a price decline of about 7% from a year ago. The price of an existing home is up slightly.

Pumpkin Crop "Disappointing"

Sep 15, 2015
Libby's

A large canned pumpkin manufacturer says yields in Illinois appear to be less than anticipated this year. Roz O'Hearn is corporate and brand affairs director for Libby's, which grows most of its pumpkins in central Illinois. O'Hearn says the yield could be off by as much as a third, and the company is disappointed. O'Hearn says weather could further reduce yields. The harvest is underway now through October or early November. However, O'Hearn says the company thinks it will have enough pumpkin to meet fall holiday demand. Libby's has run a processing plant in Morton since 1929.

Peoria Economy Grows, Slowly

Sep 8, 2015

Second quarter growth returned the Composite Index of local business and economic conditions to year earlier levels and cut the unemployment rate to 5.5%, on par with the rest of the nation. That's what the latest Peoria Area Economic Index shows. The index, from the Bradley University College of Business, tracks 30 economic indicators in it's quarterly assessments. Bernard Goitein is the chief author of the report. He says the unemployment rate is 1.3-percentage points lower than in the previous quarter.

Delays Keep Market Street Closed

Sep 3, 2015
cityblm

Twin city drivers anxious to begin using West Market Street again following railroad trestle work will have to wait a bit longer. The rail upgrade was originally supposed to begin in the fall of 2014, but was repeatedly delayed. Work by Union Pacific, owner of the tracks, finally began this spring and completion was estimated for Labor Day. Now it looks more like Halloween, maybe. Bloomington City Engineer Jim Karch says one reason for the delay is a change the city sought to increase visibility by employing a 'sloped wall,' replacing the old vertical retaining wall:

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