* The explanation makes some sense, but that rate increase will rightly make for scary headlines…
Unemployment in Illinois rose in October for a sixth straight month, inching up to 10.1%, even as the state added 30,000 jobs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said today.
The statewide jobless rate was 10% in September, the first time it reached double digits since August 2010.
The unemployment rate in Illinois is now more than a full percentage point above the national rate, which slipped to 9% last month, suggesting that the state’s recovery from the Great Recession is lagging much of the country. The U.S. rate has hovered between 9% and 9.2% since April.
The Illinois agency said the simultaneous increase in jobs and the unemployment rate could suggest that more residents feel optimistic about finding work and a re-energizing their job search, which is reflected in a higher unemployment rate.
As in most past months, “government” led all job loss categories, with 600 terminations. Governments in Illinois shed 10,500 jobs in the last year. That’s three times more than the second place finisher, “Information” employment.
* Meanwhile, Ohio’s governor claims he made a “stunning” presentation to Sears about relocating its headquarters from Illinois…
Gov. John Kasich said yesterday that he spoke with Louis D’Ambrosio, chief executive officer of Sears Holdings Corp., on Wednesday in an ongoing attempt to lure the Sears headquarters from Illinois to Columbus.
Although Kasich reiterated that he doubts Sears will leave suburban Chicago, he has learned that Ohio, Texas and Illinois are the three finalists in the running to land Sears. The company had received proposals from 19 states.
“You know what he told me?” Kasich said, referring to D’Ambrosio. “He said ‘the presentation that your folks have made for us has been stunning. They have been so good, and so creative, and so ahead of the curve that it’s down to three (states).’ ”
* And Illinois wants a new Cat plant…
llinois is trying to persuade Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction and mining- equipment maker, that its home state is the best location to build a factory that will employ more than 1,000 people.
“We have reached out to them and we will continue our discussions,” Marcelyn Love, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said Nov. 15 in a telephone interview. “We want to continue our relationship with them as well as to strengthen the Illinois economy.”
* OK, this is bizarre. Wired.com reports that Russian hackers destroyed a CWLP water pump…
Hackers gained remote access into the control system of the city water utility in Springfield, Illinois, last week and destroyed a pump, according to a report released by a state fusion center and obtained by a security expert.
The hackers were discovered on Nov. 8 when a water district employee noticed problems in the city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA). The system kept turning on and off, resulting in the burnout of a water pump.
Forensic evidence indicates that the hackers may have been in the system as early as September, according to the “Public Water District Cyber Intrusion” report, released by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center on November 10.
But CWLP flatly denies the story…
“CWLP has not had any breach of its Water or Electric Department Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems,” the utility said in a statement issued this morning.
* Again, this is why the General Assembly should’ve given video gaming to the Lottery instead of the gaming board…
To pull off video gaming, [Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe] said the board will have to hire many more investigators to handle licensing for all the people involved, from machine manufacturers and distributors to the establishments where the terminals would be located to repair people.
The Lottery already has a statewide network that video gaming could use, and it seems to work fine.
* The Sun-Times editorialized this week in favor of Chairman Jaffee’s renomination, and the SJ-R published a list of failed gaming expansion proposals since 1997…
*1997: 14 new casino licenses, including two licenses for Chicago that would be city-owned; slot machines at racetracks and dockside gambling. Allowing casinos to dock instead of taking gambling cruises eventually became law.
* 1999: Three new riverboat casinos would be authorized to operate anywhere in the state, including Cook County, dockside gambling.
* 2003: Separate proposals would allow slots at racetracks; increase the number of gaming positions at current casinos; create casinos for Chicago and the south suburbs; legalize 47,000 video poker machines.
* 2005: Various proposals included increasing the number of gaming positions at casinos; giving Chicago a casino, authorizing two other casinos in the suburbs, allowing slot machines at racetracks, legalizing video poker
* 2008: To pay for a capital plan, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed three new casino licenses, including one in Chicago; selling the then-unused 10th license; allowing existing casinos to expand; and allowing slot machines at the tracks; and leasing the state lottery.
* And a national search could begin soon to replace Arlene Juracek at the Illinois Power Agency…
Arlene Juracek will remain acting director of the Illinois Power Agency for now, but the state Executive Ethics Commission is expected to conduct a nationwide job search that could lead to replacing the retired Exelon executive whose appointment last month by Governor Pat Quinn has stirred controversy.
Quinn, a Democrat, tapped Juracek to replace Mark Pruitt, who had been the IPA’s only director since its inception in 2008. Though tiny, the agency wields disproportionate clout through its procurement of power for the state’s two largest electric utilities — Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon subsidiary, and Ameren Illinois.
Indeed, Juracek’s longtime association with Exelon raised the eyebrows of some consumer advocates who questioned whether her selection posed a potential conflict of interest. Juracek’s appointment has yet to be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate.
The General Assembly recently stripped Quinn of control over the IPA, placing the agency in the hands of the non-partisan ethics commission.
Last week, the House of Representatives, where Democrats also hold a majority, passed amended legislation that limits acting IPA directors to 60-day terms. The measure has not been approved by the Senate, however.
Chad Fornoff, executive director of the nine-member commission, said in a Monday interview that Juracek will continue in her current IPA capacity for the foreseeable future. “Unless and until the commission rescinds her appointment, she’s in the job,” he said.
But Fornoff acknowledged commission members appear interested in mounting a broad search for a permanent IPA director.
* Related and a roundup…
* ADDED: Occupy Chicago Holds Bread Line To Protest Tax Breaks for CME, other corporations
* Cities caught in tax break conundrum
* Business tax breaks won’t help farmers
* Chicago-area coal plant to shut down earlier than expected - State Line Power Station to close by March instead of 2014
* Waiting for Emanuel on Pension Overhaul: “At this point, we have not had a lot of engagement from the mayor, so I think that’s good,” Cross told the Chicago News Cooperative.
* Emanuel dumps Daley nephew, 2 others, from sports stadium board
* Jim Reilly to stay on as McPier’s chief — maybe for quite a while
* Quinn eyes Alderman Joe Moore for IEPA spot
* Smart meter foes file to put issue to voters
* Illinois’ lousy financial literacy
* Understanding Illinois’ Smart Grid and Distributed Generation
* Grant Thornton to step up Chicago hiring 40% next year
* Mulch company chooses Illinois over Missouri to consolidate
* Businesses penalized for state unemployment insurance debt: But relief for employers in Illinois won’t come until the state actually issues the bond, probably sometime in 2012. So for companies in Illinois, just as in the other 19 other states facing a similar predicament, higher taxes will kick in next year whether the state passes legislation or not. The federal law governing unemployment loans to states has an automatic repayment process for those that fail to pay back their loans within a certain time. The most recent deadline was November 10.
* Sequestration project at ADM showing early success
* Illinois Coal Debacle: Will Gov. Quinn Allow This Reckless Strip Mine to Jeopardize a Small Town’s Drinking Water?
* In defense of slots at the racetracks
* Sears’ corporate rating cut by S&P