Some GPEDC updates to end your week:
PCs For People: Grace and Kathie hosted a great event yesterday in conjunction with PCs For People and the Peoria Park District. Over 60 computers were distributed to low income families at the Proctor Center. People from a wide spectrum of neighborhoods, ages and races took advantage of the population and had different reasons for needing a computer. Said Alicia (pictured below), “I have two 9year old twins that are in school that sometimes have to go virtual and I sometimes have to do work on my tablet while they are in school so this will really help out.” WEEK-25 provided a recap. We hope to hold more events like this around the region to help meet our digital inclusion goals.
Passenger Rail: Led by the City of Peoria, there is a renewed effort to develop a passenger rail route that connects Peoria to Chicago. This is an important economic development initiative that would help boost tourism and business development. You can help in two ways. First, take a brief survey here to share your thoughts about how you would utilize a train to Chicago. Second, you can encourage others to do the same, whether that is telling your friends and families or sharing the survey link via your personal and organizational social media.
December Unemployment Report: Remember a few weeks ago when I told you not to get too excited about the employment improvement in November? That’s because we have been on a see-saw these past few months, a trend that played out again with December numbers. We saw a drop in labor force for our five counties of about 4,300 and a drop in employed persons of about 3,800. Interestingly, about 480 less people were also unemployed. That actually meant the unemployment rate dropped from 4.5% to 4.3%. Every MSA outside of the Chicago area dropped in both labor force and employed persons. I was particularly surprised by the Bloomington MSA (just McLean and DeWitt counties), which lost 4,100 in the labor force and 3,900 employed persons between November and December. Given the growth of Rivian’s employment, I thought they might buck the trend. But my crystal ball broke a long time ago.
Lenora Profile: If you didn’t hear it Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, WCBU did a nice profile of Lenora, covering her professional background and her approach to business attraction. You can listen to it here.
Have a great weekend!