November 03, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- November 3, 2023

Can you believe that it is already November? I can’t. A few updates to end your week:

Congrats, David! We had a fun time celebrating our very own David as he was recognized as a member of Peoria Magazine’s 40 Leaders Under 40. Most of the people reading this have met David. His smile is infectious, and he wears his passion for Greater Peoria (and, sadly, Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift) on his sleeve. In just about two and a half years, David has truly made his mark on our community. And really, who else can pull off a pink tuxedo? You can read the entry about David here. This edition of Peoria Magazine and the event celebrating the class of inductees is always a great reminder of how lucky we are as a region to have so many great young leaders like David. (It also makes me feel old.) Many of you reading this had members of your staff recognized, too. Congratulations to all them, too, and to you for employing such talented and dedicated individuals.

Bioprocessing and Greater Peoria: This didn’t make a lot of news around Greater Peoria, but our friends to the east in Champaign and Macon counties were named a “TechHub” by the US Economic Development Administration. This was a national competition to select region’s poised to be the center of innovation for key technological areas that will define our future economy. The Central Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana sits in the middle of this application and focuses particularly on precision fermentation. The global precision fermentation market, which includes everything from ethanol to “Sustainable Aviation Fuel” is expected to reach $11.8 billion by 2028. 

So why should we in Greater Peoria care? Central Illinois is situated in the center of the largest farm production of feedstocks in the US and has the largest global production of bioprocessing plants in the world. Greater Peoria stands to benefit from any investments and advancements made in this area, even if the TechHub is 90 miles east of us. The Peoria area is rich in the bioprocessing industry. We have two large ethanol plants in Alto Ingredients and BioUrja, and smaller, innovative companies like PMP Fermentation, Corbion, and Midwest BioProcessing Center. Even NFW is part of the bioprocessing revolution, using plants to replace plastics. Recently, Sally and Kathie (who did a lot of legwork to help support the successful TechHub designation) toured Alto Ingredients in Pekin to learn about their operation and vision for the future. Alto operates as an integrated facility with two dry mill distilleries, a wet mill distillery, and specialized yeast production. Their production facilities manufacture high-quality alcohols, protein and specialty feed and food products, and low-carbon renewable fuel. The Pekin location also serves as Alto Ingredients’ Headquarters. Alto – and by extension, Pekin and Greater Peoria – is exactly the type of company that stands to benefit from these new initiatives.

September Numbers: After a few good months of increases, we saw a bit of a retreat in both the employment and job numbers in September. On the employment side, both labor force and employed persons declined, but the former decreased by 2,000 and the latter by only 1,000. Interestingly, about 1,000 less people reported as “unemployed” too. That combination led to a drop in the unemployment rate from 5.8% to 5.4%. On the jobs side, we saw 700 less jobs in September. Decreases were reported in Hospitality (-700), Manufacturing (-200) and Professional Services (-200) and increases in Healthcare/Education, Government and Retail (+200 each). Fancy graphs here.

AgTech Connect: Last reminder – the AgTech Connect meetup is November 7 from 3 – 5 p.m. at CSE Software (316 SW Washington, Peoria). RSVP here.

Have a great weekend.