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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.

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