Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rauner's Executive Order Bars Lawmakers From Property-Tax Appeals

Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued a ban on legislators financially benefiting from state property-tax appeals. It is effective immediately. Rauner has often accused Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of benefiting from high Illinois property taxes because his law firm deals in tax-assessment appeals. Madigan has maintained he operates by a strict code of ethics and within the law. The executive order also bans lawmakers from seeking outside employment activities which “conflict with their official state duties and responsibilities.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Illinois Unemployment Rate Dips in December

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent in December and non-farm payrolls increased by +1,500 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. November jobs were revised up to show a slight gain (+3,100 jobs) rather than a slight loss as initially reported (-1,100 jobs).

December’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the 3-month trend shows average gains of +4,700 jobs per month from October to December. This reflects an improvement over the 3-month average gain of +1,500 from September to November.

“The unemployment rate dropped in December, even as the labor force increased in the final quarter of the year.” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Payrolls overall have now increased by about a half-percent over the year to date, which is an additional 29,600 jobs.”

“The fourth quarter trend is certainly promising,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy. “Illinois is beginning to see results from investments made in securing businesses by this administration.

 In December, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Government (+4,100); Other Services (+2,600); and Construction (+2,200). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Professional and Business Services (-3,100); Financial Activities (-2,600) and Education and Health Services (-2,300).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +29,600 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in December: Financial Activities (+8,700); Manufacturing (+7,700); and Education and Health Services (+6,600). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Government (-4,100); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,900); Leisure and Hospitality (-1,400). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.5 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.4 percent over-the-year gain in December.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.7 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2017, which held at 4.1 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.7 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.8 percent in July.

The number of unemployed workers dipped -1.4 percent from the prior month to 309,200, down -17.1 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force increased 0.3 percent over-the-month and declined by -0.6 percent in December over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. Resumes = 62,451 Jobs = 160,623

To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine, (IJL), which recently showed 62,451 posted resumes with 160,023 jobs available.

Democrat Chris Kennedy Unveils Single-Payer Healthcare Plan

Chris Kennedy wants the state of Illinois to pick up the cost for more healthcare in the state.  Kennedy, who's running for governor as a Democrat, yesterday unveiled his plan for a single-payer healthcare program in Illinois.  He also wants to allow companies and local governments to join together and try to negotiate for lower health insurance premiums.

Normal Solid Waste Fees to Increase

The Normal Town Council plans to raise your $18 monthly solid waste collection fee to $24 on April 1st. It is the first of a series of annual hikes to help curb a budget deficit. Some council members also want the town staff to immediately begin work on an ordinance forcing multifamily residential landowners to offer recycling services on-site to help those who rely on the drop-box service--a program which may be discontinued due to budget cuts.

Town of Normal Announces Budget Cuts

Town of Normal officials plan to save about $2.3 million by cutting the equivalent of 20 full-time positions effective April 1. It is a part of some budget cuts discussed at the city council's annual budget work session Thursday.  The town is looking at a $4.25 million annual gap in is $102.5 million

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rauner to Air Ad with Wiretap Recordings of Rival Pritzker and Now-Imprisoned Blago

Gov. Bruce Rauner will air campaign ads featuring 11 minutes of conversations between a top Democratic rival and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich captured on FBI wiretaps. Rauner’s campaign said Thursday the ads featuring billionaire businessman J.B. Prizker and the now-imprisoned Blagojevich will air statewide this weekend. Rauner’s campaign says the move is a response to Pritzker’s statements that an ad released last week was selectively edited. That ad included a portion of audio in which Blagojevich and Pritzker discuss the possibility of Blagojevich appointing Pritzker attorney general.

Chicago Among Amazon Top 20 Finalists for HQ2

Amazon announced Thursday it has narrowed down its list of 238 proposals from across to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to 20 candidates, who all hope they will get a chance to become the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters--and Chicago is on the list! Amazon’s new HQ2 will be a complete headquarters, with plans to invest over $5 billion and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.