January 06, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- January 6, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update 01/06/2023

I saw an online debate about when the statute of limitations runs out for starting an email with “Happy New Year.” Consensus seems to be at the end of this week, so…. Happy New Year (for the last time.) Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:

Annual Meeting: GPEDC will be holding its 2023 Annual Meeting next Tuesday, January 10 from 7:30 am to 9 am. This is a gathering of all the organization’s investors plus a number of other key partners and stakeholders. The meeting will start with a presentation by Sudheer Sajja, the CEO of Pringle Robotics. Pringle is an exciting company that is revolutionizing automation of routine tasks. They’ve been featured locally for their pilot projects with robotic restaurant hosts and sanitation robots and schools and fitness centers. The meeting will also include updates on the accomplishments of 2022 and the plans for 2023. This is a hybrid meeting: You can join us in person at Morton Community Bank’s Clocktower building in East Peoria (201 Clocktower Drive, 2nd floor Fondulac Room) or via Zoom. If you are interested in attending, drop me an email and I can send you a meeting invitation with the details.

Economic Development Legislation: GPEDC is not a formal lobbying organization, but we do keep our eye on important federal and state legislation that impacts our work and our region. We get great information about state issues from the Illinois Economic Development Association (I serve as their Board treasurer) and the Illinois Manufacturers Association. The past two General Assemblies have advanced some pretty aggressive economic incentive packages, including REV (for the electric vehicle industry) and MICRO (for the microchip industry). In the “lame duck” session happening in Springfield right now, the House and Senate will be taking up a package of tools and ideas put together by Governor Pritzker and Illinois DCEO. A lot of attention will be paid to the proposal of a “closing fund” – a pot of money the state can use to seal the deal with large manufacturing projects.  But maybe more important from a local angle are changes to the Enterprise Zone law to increase the size Zones can be and changes to the state’s EDGE Tax Credit program that will make it more attractive and easier to you. The latter addresses an issue that economic development professionals have been concerned about for over a decade. We will be watching over the weekend to see what happens with these proposals. A great place to follow along with all things Springfield is the CapitolFax blog.

November Jobs and Employment Report: On Christmas Eve eve eve (December 22), Illinois released the November 2022 jobs and employment reports. I was one foot out the door for my vacation so didn’t get a chance to include the results in my last Weekend Update. The employment numbers show only the slightest of improvements between October and November, with 31 more “employed persons” in Greater Peoria identified. Labor force only increased by 39 individuals. Still, it reverses a three month trend of declines in these areas. The unemployment rate stayed the same at 4.5%. However, the jobs report, which measures where jobs are located vs. where the worker resides, shows an increase of 800 “nonfarm jobs” in the Peoria MSA between October and November. I’ve updated the graph I use to show these two numbers together in the image below. You can get more information about workforce data at our DataHub.

NFW’s Presentation: Distillery Labs and GPEDC are hosting Aaron Amstutz, Chief Technical Officer at Natural Fiber Welding (and winner of 2022 Inventor of the Year), at The Nest coworking space on January 19 at 6 pm. Dr. Amstutz will give a workshop about the innovation process. There will be a video stream too. Let me know if you’d like to attend in either capacity. Should be really fun and interesting.

Have a great weekend.