Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
February Employment Report: I ran out of room a few weeks ago in this space when the January employment report was published (the first report of the year is always delayed into mid-March). And I didn’t really want to share the bad news because it looked like we took quite the dip in employment between December 2022 and January 2023. But luckily, we gained most of that ground back in February, especially in the “labor force” (working or actively looking for work). Here are the numbers:
You’ll notice that spike in the unemployment rate, but that is really due to the surge in the labor force. Given the labor shortage, I would expect to see that reduce a bit in March.
I usually report jobs along with employment numbers, and I swear I’m not hiding bad numbers. Truth is that the Illinois Department of Employment Security totally changed the way they report these numbers and we are still trying to figure it out. We have some of the numbers but are hoping to be able to compare current numbers against our historical data. Thanks for your patience.
Teamwork + Service: The GPEDC team spent a few hours last Friday afternoon on a service project at Midwest Food Bank (now capably led by our friend Audrey Kamm, formerly of the Peoria Chamber). The staff – including two of our interns – helped create and pack “Tender Mercies,” a rice-bean-protein mix that is distributed across the world as a nutritious meal that is easy to cook and serve. Along with the other volunteers that day, we measured, dumped, sealed and boxed 1,160 Tender Mercy packages. Each feeds four people, so in just two hours our small and mighty team of volunteers were able to help create 4,640 meals. Pretty awesome, but it also makes you think about how fortunate everyone reading this email is to have a full belly. My thanks to the staff for jumping right in and having some fun while doing so.
B2B Grants: Just a reminder that Illinois’ latest COVID relief grants for business open next Wednesday, April 5. There are three separate grant programs, one each for restaurants, hotels and creative arts. In all three cases, businesses must have been established before March 12, 2020 and still be open (temporary closures and ownership changes are OK) and have incurred losses (2020 or 2021 revenues measured against 2019 revenues). Restaurants who have previously received state relief grants or local grants in excess of $10,000 are ineligible but that rule does not apply to the other two grants. More information at www.gpcovid.com where businesses can also request help from one of GPEDC’s “Community Navigators.”
Thanks to Debbie Van Sickle (City of Peoria) and Jennifer Hamm (Peoria Association of Realtors) for reading and giving some feedback. And to my wife, Eileen, who has been mad that I haven’t mentioned her yet but hangs on my every word (regardless of what she tells you). Have a great weekend!