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Guy Stephens / WNIJ

  Last fall, Accuride Corporation’s Gunite plant in Rockford won an industry award for excellence in manufacturing and business.  It reflects an extraordinary transformation for a facility that just a few years ago was, in the company’s own words, “left for dead” by the previous owners.  

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices continue to climb, in Illinois and nationwide, according to the latest AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded in Illinois is up nine cents since last week, to $1.88. That’s 30 cents higher than a month ago.

The national average is up six cents, but still slightly cheaper than Illinois, at $1.81. 

CASS HERRINGTON / PEORIA PUBLIC RADIO

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a $25 million federal grant for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center in Peoria Thurs. The aim is to help local manufacturers compete in a rapidly changing industry.

The Peoria-based consultant advises and trains manufacturing companies on ways to increase profits, sustainability and cost-savings. The bulk of IMEC’s clients are small to mid-size companies. That’s why Democratic Senator Durbin says the funding will help give small businesses in Illinois a leg-up in the tech-driven, global market.

Institute of Government and Public Affairs, U of I

A monthly snapshot of the state’s economy shows growth in December was the slowest it has been since spring of 2013.

Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the University of Illinois’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs, says it’s possible the state budget impasse contributed to the economic slowdown. He says it probably hasn’t played that big of a role so far, because the state is collecting less in taxes, leaving more money in consumer’s pockets, while at the same time not cutting back on spending.

Illinois Department of Employment Security / AP/WNIJ News

Unemployment dropped in most of Illinois' metro areas in November but most areas also lost jobs over the past year.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Wednesday in its monthly metro-area report that the jobless rate dropped in 12 metro areas last month, stayed the same in one and dropped in one.

The lowest rate was 5.2 percent in Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights. The highest was 7.7 percent in Danville.

Senate.gov

Consumers may like the ability to shop online and avoid paying state and local sales taxes, and many online retailers may like the competitive advantage the arrangement provides them over “bricks and mortar” businesses across the country; but U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. says the situation has a significant price.

“It’s really not fair to say to that store down the block that’s paying rent and paying property taxes and collecting sales tax [that] we’re going to put them at a disadvantage to their Internet counterparts,” Durbin said.

Good News On Illinois Job Front

Dec 14, 2015
ADP Research Institute

Non-farm jobs increased in Illinois during November.

Illinois added 6,200 private-sector non-farm jobs during November, according to the ADP Regional Employment Report. That’s more than any of the other five Midwest states.

Wisconsin added only 2,540 jobs last month.

The bad news is that the November Illinois growth is 580 jobs lower than the six-month average … but Wisconsin’s number dropped 1,140 jobs below that rolling average.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A massive project at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport is back on track, thanks to a collaboration by five local banks. 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

As we enter the holiday season, many workers are thinking about the extra days off. 

The State Chamber of Commerce keeps tabs on paid holidays by employers across the state. The average number of paid holidays in Illinois comes in at nearly nine days a year with an average of nearly three personal paid days thrown in.

Looking ahead to the next year, nearly 98 percent of employers will give paid holidays for New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day … along with Thanksgiving.

Artwork provided

The multi-purpose indoor athletic facility under construction in downtown Rockford got a financial boost and a new name Thursday, thanks to UW Health.

What originally was called the Downtown Sportscore now will be known as the UW Health Sports Factory.

The parent company of Rockford’s SwedishAmerican Health System will pay roughly $1.9 million over a 10-year period to have its name and logo emblazoned on the building and various associated materials.

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