I hope those of you reading this from Greater Peoria have unburied yourself from this week’s storm. If COVID taught us anything, it’s that working from home is a pretty easy option for some of us, including me. A quick shout of gratitude to our public employees across the region for doing such a good job clearing our streets so that working-from-home isn’t prolonged. With that, some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Partnership Planning Grant: Just moments ago we learned that EDA awarded Greater Peoria EDC a three-year Partnership Planning Grant. This is the grant that helps to fund our work around creating and monitoring the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, engage in regional economic development initiatives, and connect our communities to federal resources, particularly from the EDA. It is our honor to continue this decades’ long relationship with our great EDA partners.
December Jobs Report: Last week I shared with you some of the disappointing employment numbers that were reported for December. A few of you asked me my thoughts on why there was such a dramatic drop in labor force and employed persons, and frankly I do not have a lot of answers. I spoke with our partners at CareerLink who felt there may be some seasonal aspects to this, but I’m not sure I concur (retail hiring, for example, usually increases in December). My colleague at the Bloomington Normal EDC just thought that someone made a mistake as their numbers looked so different from what they are seeing on the ground. The unemployment figures are not a count of people filing for benefits; rather, it is a survey of 60,000 households across the country. And we know that all surveys have a margin of error. You can go here to learn more about how BLS projects unemployment rates.
To make things even more confusing, the December 2021 jobs report was relatively flat compared to November 2021. As the chart below shows, BLS estimates just 200 less jobs in December compared to November, which seems incongruous with a drop of 3,800 “employed persons.” The two reports come from two different surveys, with the jobs numbers based on a national survey of 130,000 businesses. And as a reminder, “jobs” is based on where the job is physically located while “employed” is based on where the worker/job seeker lives. Still, it boggles the mind that the two reports seem so far off of each other. We will continue to monitor.
GPEDC Alumni: If you have been listening to WCBU lately and heard what seemed like a familiar voice, you aren’t crazy. Tory Dahlhoff, our one-time Director of Rural Outreach and Development, has a twice-monthly segment called Food Trek. The show will focus on the agricultural legacy and future of Central Illinois. Anyone who knows Tory will know of his passion for sustainable farming, and connecting local production with local markets. You can listen to past episodes here.
Have a great weekend!