Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fun and restful holiday break, whether you took just a few days off or the last few weeks. 2023 went by in a flash, and I just assume 2024 will, too. But Weekend Update lives on, so let’s get to it.
We Are Hiring (Again): 2024 is going to be a year of growth for GPEDC. Two staff departures in the 4th quarter of 2023, combined with some new opportunities and a reorganization of grant funds, will bring on four new employees this year. We are in final conversations with candidates for our Workforce Solutions Specialist and Talent Attraction Coordinator positions. Next up is our search for a Research & Insights Manager. This critical position will help fuel all of our work but will be particularly helpful in gathering and sharing data that supports our business attraction efforts. We are looking for someone curious, diligent, well-organized, and collaborative. The full job announcement can be found here. Please share with anyone you feel might be interested.
November Job and Employment: While most of us were enjoying the Christmas holidays, the Illinois Department of Employment Security elves were busy finalizing the November 2023 job report. And there was some good news for us to find under the tree. While there was just a slight increase in the labor force (about +200), we saw a pretty nice jump in people employed (+1500) and (obviously) a nice decline in people unemployed (-1400). This reversed the two-month trend of things heading in the wrong direction. The regional unemployment rate dropped to 4.1%. The jobs report was less interesting with a small decrease (-100) of total jobs. We will see how we ended the year when the December report comes out later this month. You can see the numbers in chart form here.
Last Call: Next Thursday (January 11) is the last day for small businesses to apply for the state’s latest grant program. The B2B NewBiz program will award grants up to $30,000 for small businesses in targeted industries like retail, restaurant and personal services that opened in 2020 or 2021. We have a small army of “community navigators” waiting to help businesses with the application. More information here.
Second Last Call: The GPEDC Annual Meeting is next Tuesday morning at 7:30 am at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. There are both in-person and Zoom options, but you don’t get to network with your peers on a Zoom call. We are happy to welcome Dan Seals, the CEO of Intersect Illinois, as our guest speaker. Free to attend, but we’d like to know that you’ll be there (or to get the Zoom link). Just drop me a line.
Have a great weekend.