Business news


The Illinois Department of Employment Security says May was the fifteenth month in a row that unemployment rates fell in every metro area in the state compared to a year ago.  Rates also fell in all of Illinois’s 102 counties. 

Department Director Jeff Mays noted that three metro areas in northeastern Illinois, including the Elgin area at 4.8 percent, Lake-Kenosha and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metro areas, had returned to pre-recession unemployment rates.

Jennifer Brdlik / Elevated Care

Patients, growers, and business owners are waiting while Illinois continues the process of setting up its medical cannabis program. One northern Illinois native is in all three of those roles in Arizona, where medical marijuana has been legal for five years. 

Jennifer Brdlik is operations director for “Elevated Care” and “Aromatic Kitchens,” companies that produce cannabis-based foods and tinctures. She spoke with WNIJ’s Susan Stephens about why she got into the business and where she thinks it’s headed in Illinois.


The poisoning death of a Highland Park couple draws more attention to the potential dangers of keyless auto ignitions.

Pasquale and Rina Fontanini were found dead last week. Their son, who is a local fire department lieutenant, says lethal levels of carbon monoxide were in the home after the couple left their car with a keyless ignition running in the garage.

Safety advocates say up to a dozen deaths nationwide occur because of such scenarios and want immediate action.

A dispute between airline Allegiant Air and its airport hub in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area should have no impact on its service to the Chicago Rockford International Airport.  That’s according to a spokeswoman for the airline.


An upswing in the Rockford metropolitan area’s economy over the last several years is reflected favorably in a recent report.  Rockford ranked eighth among the 150 largest metro areas in the country for the highest percentage of new jobs in occupations that pay a living wage.

New Power Plant Rules May Force Rate Hikes

May 25, 2015

Proposed rules to lower carbon emissions by electricity-generating power plants will force unnecessary rate increases.

That's according to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. 

Barring additional delays, the new rules will now be out in August. They require new and existing power plants that burn coal and other fossil fuels to reduce emissions to levels 30-percent below those in 2005 over the next 15 years.

$10 Billion Smoking Case Reheard By State Supreme Court

May 20, 2015

A $10 billion dollar lawsuit was back before the Illinois Supreme Court yesterday.

A group of smokers say Philip Morris defrauded them into thinking light cigarettes were safer than regular. Back in 2003, a court ruled "yes" and granted smokers a monster $10 billion judgment,  but they lost the case a decade ago when the state’s sharply divided highest court overturned the verdict in 2005.

The Illinois Senate may vote on a plan this week to create a "one-stop shop" for people wanting to set up businesses in the state.

The measure would require the state to set up a website that provides details on the costs and links to the forms and information for setting up a business in Illinois. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It’s the end of an era in DeKalb: Duck Soup Coop is closing. Last night, the natural foods market’s members voted to shut down after forty years. 

Members packed the small store to hear just how bad the co-op’s finances are and learn their options. $45,000 in the hole. They overwhelmingly chose an “orderly closure” as soon as possible over bankruptcy or trying to raise 100-thousand dollars to stay viable.

Rock Valley College

A business incubator based in Rockford is going regional under its new owner. 

EIGERlab opened a decade ago as a place budding entrepreneurs could get help launching their products from concept to customer. Now the mission is the same, but the reach is getting bigger through Northern Illinois University, which acquired EIGERlab from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council.