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GPEDC Weekend Update – June 3, 2022

Some GPEDC updates to end your week: 

Cost of Living: The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) is the outfit responsible for compiling the quarterly “Cost of Living Index” for 262 different metropolitan areas in the US. But did you know that GPEDC was the “boots on the ground” to give them the prices of various things in our region. More specifically, once a quarter we send Melissa (or our research intern) on a shopping spree where they have to find and record the prices of things like steak, potato chips, jeans and shampoo. (We have to go to three grocery stores and a department store.) In addition to this “field survey” we have to do some internet/phone research on things like the cost of a movie ticket or a haircut. All this information is submitted to C2ER, along with all the other 261 Melissas, to create the Index.  

The 2022 First Quarter report was just released and the Peoria MSA index number is 88.5 on a scale where 100 is “average.” The main index is actually a composite of six different indexes. Our relative affordability was heavily influenced by housing (70.9), followed by utilities (91.8), health care (94.0), miscellaneous goods and services (94.2), grocery items (99.0) and finally transportation (106.5). Overall, our cost of living ranks us 61st out of 262 metro areas. Decatur (6th at 81.0) is the only more affordable market in Illinois. Not surprisingly, Manhattan itself (which seems to be a subset of the larger metropolitan area) is the most expensive with an index of 237.8. I’m not allowed to publish the full results publicly but would be happy to share more information with you if you are interested.

IEDA Conference: After a few years on hiatus, it was great to be back together at the Illinois Economic Development Association annual conference this week. I’ve been on the IEDA board for a few years, but it’s pretty boring to help lead a professional networking association that can’t actually network. So it was nice to see my colleagues again. I was invited by Ken Springer of the Knox County Partnership to join him on a panel discussion about talent attraction. We also heard from Intersect Illinois, DCEO and Gov. Pritzker. And most of our “Midstate 6” group of Central Illinois economic development organizations (Peoria, Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington-Normal, Tuscola, and Champaign-Urbana plus Ameren reps) were able to reconnect over dinner in Chicago.

Illinois Defense Network: GPEDC has been a member of the Illinois Defense Network (IDN) for the past few years. Organized by the University of Illinois Chicago, IDN is a partnership of economic development groups in Chicago, Rockford, Peoria and the Quad Cities (plus Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center) that help manufacturers diversify and take advantage of defense contractor spending. You can read the latest newsletter here.

DCEO Director Visit: DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia will be visiting Peoria in a few weeks for a convening of economic development leaders and elected officials in our region. After a presentation from DCEO on current and future programs and initiatives, attendees will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the Department on what is working well, what isn’t and how we can continue to work together to drive economic growth in Greater Peoria. The event will be held on June 22nd from 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM at the Bradley University Business and Engineering Convergence Center (1501 W Main Street) in Room 1160. If you’d like to attend, drop me a note and I will get you on the list.

Have a great weekend.

Chris

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