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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Illinois Department of Employment Security…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.8 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased +7,300 in April, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and released by IDES. The March revised unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, unchanged from the preliminary March unemployment rate. The March monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +12,700 to +10,000 jobs. The April unemployment rate and payroll jobs estimate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In April, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Professional and Business Services (+4,900), Private Education and Health Services (+3,400), and Leisure and Hospitality (+1,900). The industry sectors with the largest monthly payroll job declines included Financial Activities (-1,300), Government (-1,100), and Manufacturing

“Expanded payroll jobs and a stable unemployment rate are both further indications that the Illinois labor market and economy remain strong,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “IDES is committed to continuing to provide jobseekers and employers the resources they need to take advantage of new and expanding workforce opportunities.”

“As payroll jobs steadily increase, DCEO continues to provide resources to support Illinois’ job seekers, workers and employers,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “Illinois’ economy is strong, and the State of Illinois remains committed to investing in its growing world-class workforce.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.9 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for April. The national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in April, up +0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +0.6 percentage point from a year ago when it was 4.2 percent.

Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +37,400 jobs. However, there were losses across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases included: Professional and Business Services (-33,100), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-6,900), and Financial Activities (-6,800). The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Private Education and Health Services (+29,200), Government (+27,700), and Leisure and Hospitality (+19,600). In April, total nonfarm payrolls were up +0.6 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +1.8 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 313,200, up +0.3 percent from the prior month, and up +17.1 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was up +0.1 percent over-the-month and up +1.3 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

IDES helps connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring in a number of ways, including hosting and co-hosting job fairs and hiring events with statewide workforce partners, and through maintaining Illinois JobLink (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine. IJL is a tool used by jobseekers to look for work, and by employers who can post open and available positions for hire and browse resumes. Recently, IJL showed 57,462 posted resumes with 89,988 jobs available.

* Sen. Terri Bryant and Rep. Amy Elik…

At a press conference today in Springfield, Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton) and Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) urged the Senate to act on House Bill 4241, which unanimously passed the House last month. The bill, which protects high school students age 18 and older from sexual abuse by an educator, currently sits in Assignments in the Senate. Sen. Erica Harriss (R-Glen Carbon) also attended the press conference and is a chief co-sponsor of the bill.

“We carefully crafted this legislation to anticipate any possible concerns by both the House and Senate,” said Rep. Elik. “This bipartisan bill has no vocal opposition and must move forward this session so students have the necessary protections they deserve. Today it is in the Senate’s hands to push this across the finish line and deliver that promise.”

House Bill 4241 protects students age 18 and older by creating the offense of abuse of power by an educator or authority figure. Any sexual contact by an educator or staff member with a student, even if they are 18 or older, is an abuse of authority. Criminal charges must be levied so that offenders cannot just leave a job and move on to other opportunities where they could prey on children.

HB 4241 states that abuse by an educator or authority figure involving sexual conduct is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent offense or if there is more than one victim. For acts of sexual penetration, Class 3 and 4 felony charges are applicable.

“Our kids can’t afford to wait any longer for this issue to be addressed,” said Sen. Bryant. “With the passage of House Bill 4241, we can tell every individual within our state that suffered this abuse that their lawmakers heard their cries for help and acted.”

Rep. Elik also called for the passage of a bill she filed last spring, HB 1275. This bill states that no contributory fault may be attributed to a child sexual abuse victim. Rep. Elik will continue to work with fellow lawmakers to get this bill through the General Assembly.

* Bloomberg

The Justice Department formally started the procedure of classifying marijuana as a less dangerous substance, moving toward a major change in US drug policy.

The agency submitted a rulemaking notice on Thursday to shift marijuana’s legal status to Schedule III from Schedule I, the first step in what could be a lengthy process. A 60-day public comment period will begin, after which the Drug Enforcement Administration and Justice Department will make a final decision whether to remove marijuana from the list of the most-dangerous drugs.

The long-awaited move will mean $70 million to $100 million to the bottom line of Chicago’s cannabis companies, potentially starting this year, which will further boost their value. It represents relief for an industry battered by falling prices, increased competition and steep taxes, as well as inefficiency that comes from a business that operates under a patchwork of rules that vary from state to state. Chicago-based cannabis stocks jumped because of the news, led by Cresco Labs, which rose 12.4% to $2.35 per share. Verano Holdings’ shares rose 9% to $5.89 apiece, and Green Thumb Industries stock climbed 7% to $13.95 per share.

Cresco expects to save $70 million to $80 million a year. Verano is likely to save about $80 million. GTI could save $100 million.

Cannabis Business Association of Illinois…

The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois released the following statement after President Joe Biden announced his administration took a key step forward to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug:

“We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to reclassify marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act as it affirms what our group advocates for – safe, legal, and community-building uses of cannabis. We look forward to evaluating the proposed rules, which would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug on par with heroin to a less dangerous Schedule III drug,” said Tiffany Chappell Ingram, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois. “In the decades since marijuana was erroneously categorized, Black and Brown communities have experienced countless repercussions stemming from the war on drugs. While this decision cannot reverse that damage, it does recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and enhances the viability of marijuana companies, including allowing for the same expense deductions enjoyed by other businesses. This is an important step in the right direction for the cannabis industry and our society at large, and we hope this continues to pave the path towards federal legalization.”

*** Statewide ***

* Illinois Answers | This Coastal State’s Approach to Flooding May Be a Model for Illinois Communities: For decades, local, state and federal governments have worked with residents to buy their properties, tear down structures and turn the land into open space in order to mitigate flooding. Buyouts are a common practice in New Jersey, which faces coastal flooding in addition to riverine and urban flooding. It’s also happening in Illinois, where flooding is the state’s most prominent natural disaster, according to state experts.

* WTTW | The Illinois Governor Who Headed a Landmark Commission on America – and Had a Tragic Fall from Grace: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.” That was the stark assessment of a landmark National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 to investigate the root causes of violent unrest that had swept the Black communities of American cities that summer and in previous years. The group’s report – which was published and became a New York Times bestseller – is known as the Kerner Report, for the Illinois governor Otto Kerner, Jr. who led the commission. It made him a household name for a time, and is the subject of a new American Experience, The Riot Report. Kerner was on a boat on the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities when Johnson called him to ask him to lead the commission. “We are being asked, in a broad sense, to probe into the soul of America,” Kerner said upon accepting. In announcing the commission, he was dwarfed on either side by the towering Johnson and vice-chairman John Lindsay, mayor of New York City. But he was up to the task.

* WGLT | Government, economic leaders push back on state plan to move Logan Correctional Center: The initial announcement did not immediately indicate what would become of LCC, stating only that Stateville would be rebuilt where it was and that plans for LCC were still being determined. “We learned of that announcement 24 hours before it was released — and that’s not okay,” Republican State Sen. Sally Turner said in a virtual town hall Wednesday evening. “…The temporary closure and demolition of [LCC] — we need to know about that immediately and we did not. Our contact with them was minimal.”

* WSJ | Colorado and Illinois Set Their Sights on Becoming the Nation’s Quantum Hub: Colorado and Illinois are both pouring millions of dollars into quantum computing in an effort to position themselves as national leaders in the area and secure coveted federal funding from the $53 billion Chips Act. Calling itself the “Mountain West” hub, Colorado along with New Mexico and Wyoming is seeking $70 million in federal funding under the act to support quantum companies, hardware manufacturing and a talent pipeline.

*** Chicago ***

* The Hill | Chicago mayor ‘confident’ DNC will be safe: The convention this summer will serve as a test for Johnson and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D), as protesters of the Biden administration’s handling of Israel’s war with Hamas already have set their eyes on the event. The Chicago DNC has the potential to draw comparisons to the chaos of the 1968 one, when police in the city battled those protesting the Vietnam War right outside the convention hall.

* NBC Chicago | FBI, Department of Homeland Security issue terror alert regarding Pride Month celebrations: With less than three weeks until the start of Pride Month in Chicago, there is a new warning from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that celebrations could be targets of terrorist activity. In a public service announcement released late last week, the agencies warned that “foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month.”

* Fox Chicago | Former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson fights for ShotSpotter to stay: ‘Can’t put a price on public safety’: Former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson appeared in a video this week supporting ShotSpotter, a technology designed to identify the location of gunfire incidents. The video was posted on the website, where Johnson emphasized the system’s role in preventing crime in Chicago neighborhoods.

* Tribune | Six months after Yellow Line crash injured more than a dozen, investigation continues: ‘This never should have happened’: Six months after the Nov. 16 crash, which left more than a dozen people injured and closed the Yellow Line for seven weeks, few answers have emerged about what went wrong and how the crash could have been prevented. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating and has yet to officially determine the cause, though the agency has said it is gathering information about the signal and braking systems, reviewing CTA practices and examining “organic material” on the tracks. The NTSB also has not issued any urgent safety recommendations to the CTA, which the agency can do during an investigation.

* Sun-Times | Protesters demand alderman withdraw support for Ozinga mining operation on Southeast Side: Protest organizers said they were reacting to what they describe as Chico’s support for the Ozinga family’s plan for the Invert, an underground development that would extend several hundred feet below the surface of a former steel mill site. The Ozingas, who operate the family’s namesake concrete and materials company, have tried to sell the community on the merits of the project over the last three years. The idea seemed to be dead after a city official ruled last year that construction would require mining to dig the space and remove underground stone, a practice that is banned in Chicago.

* Illinois Answers Project | Chatham Flooding Mitigation Program Flounders, But Oak Park Sees Success : RainReady is the brainchild of a local environmental nonprofit group the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The program has had several iterations in Chatham since its development more than 10 years ago by CNT and a group of residents. RainReady works, according to homeowners — including residents in west suburban Oak Park who benefited from the low-cost flood prevention fixes including rain gardens, backflow valves and cisterns. It is so successful that there is a waiting list, officials said.

* Block Club | Chicagoans Doubled Bike Trips In Past 5 Years. The South Side Saw Some Of The Biggest Increases: Bicyclists made 119 percent more weekday trips in spring 2023 than in fall 2019, according to a recent study from analytics company Replica, the Chicago Department of Transportation and transportation firm Sam Schwartz. Analysts reached the estimate through simulations that drew on about three months of anonymized, “very rich” transportation department data in each season, said Steven Turell, Replica’s chief of staff.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Southtown | Orland Park settles lawsuit filed by former manager against Mayor Keith Pekau: Orland Park’s former village manager will pay $30,000 in settling a lawsuit filed in the wake of an investigation he launched into possible bid rigging by Mayor Keith Pekau. Pekau and a company he owned were ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, and trustees approved the settlement at a special Village Board meeting Wednesday.

* Daily Herald | Eight new volunteers join CASA Lake County to advocate for the best interest of children in foster care: Eight new volunteers completed their training to become Court Appointed Special Advocates and help advocate for the best interest of children in foster care. Volunteers and their families and friends attended the swearing-in ceremony on April 4, hosted by the Lake County Jenile Court. The new Court Appointed Special Advocates include Charles Ex of Gurnee, Debora Jensen of Lake Forest, Adam Jones of Volo, Jollene Jones of Libertyville, Diane Koester of Barrington, Andrea Mazzetta of Deerfield, Tryna Wade of Waukegan and Maureen Zeller of Northbrook. Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Marni M. Slavin presided over the induction ceremony.

*** Downstate ***

* Madison-St. Clair Record | Fifth District reverses pretrial release for man who fled police in stolen vehicle, drove towards on-coming traffic: Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine said the appellate court’s ruling provides clarification on the application of the SAFE-T Act, or the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act. “As with any new law, the Courts have been tasked with interpreting the SAFE-T Act and making rulings on its application. Prosecutors from across the state have appealed various court decisions regarding the SAFE-T Act’s application, with a goal of making the SAFE-T Act less harmful to law-abiding citizens,” Haine said. “We’re grateful for the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, which has assisted local prosecutors in these appeals. This Appellate Court Opinion, which clarifies one of the many ambiguities in this new law, is an important win for the safety of police officers, motorists, highway workers and pedestrians across Illinois.”

* Lake County News-Sun | Plan outlines goals to reduce Lake County gun violence; ‘Prevention work fulfills our moral duty to help others’: The first of its kind for the county, the Violence Prevention Plan (VPP) consists of goals with outcomes to measure achievement, includes feedback from community stakeholders and offers data on where gun violence is occurring in the county, along with some contributing factors. “Prevention work fulfills our moral duty to help others – whether it is survivors in need of trauma-related services, domestic violence survivors in need of red flag laws, or youth in need of mentoring services,” State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said as part of the plan.

* Rockford Register Star | Rockford Mayor’s Hunger Campaign returns with new partnership: The foundation will collect and process donations for the fundraising campaign that launched Wednesday, May 15. Donations to the Mayor’s Hunger Campaign are equally distributed among nine local pantries that make up the Greater Rockford Pantry Coalition: Rock River Valley Pantry; Christian Unity Pantry; Unity in the Community/Lighthouse Pantry; St. Elizabeth Pantry; Cornucopia Pantry; Salvation Army Pantry; Emmanuel Lutheran Pantry; God’s Glory Pantry; and Soul Harbor Pantry.

*** National ***

* Boston Globe | ‘We need answers.’ Markey, Warren say controversial gunshot detection tech could violate civil rights: Massachusetts’ US senators are calling for a federal probe of ShotSpotter amid new scrutiny of the gunshot detection tool, used by police in cities across the state and country with the aim of speeding response times to shootings. In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Monday night, Senator Edward J. Markey cited a report based on leaked data that found sensors for the system were placed primarily in Black and Latino sections of cities that use them. He called for an investigation into the use of federal grants that pay for ShotSpotter, and whether its use in minority neighborhoods violates civil rights law. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley have signed onto the letter, sent to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari.

* Crain’s | McDonald’s leans into ‘Grandmacore’ with new McFlurry: McDonald’s newest campaign is about celebrating grandmothers and reaching multicultural audiences with a new Grandma McFlurry. McDonald’s has yet to disclose the flavor, only saying that it features a smoothie syrup and chopped crunchy candy pieces blended into vanilla soft serve. The treat is inspired by the pieces of candy grandmothers might carry in their purses. According to speculation on Reddit, a key ingredient could be butterscotch. The new flavor will be available on May 21.

* AP | 70 years ago, school integration was a dream many believed could actually happen. It hasn’t: Seventy years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled separating children in schools by race was unconstitutional. On paper, that decision — the fabled Brown v. Board of Education, taught in most every American classroom — still stands. But for decades, American schools have been re-segregating. The country is more diverse than it ever has been, with students more exposed to classmates from different backgrounds. Still, around 4 out of 10 Black and Hispanic students attend schools where almost every one of their classmates is another student of color.

* NYT | Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Consumer Watchdog’s Funding: The Supreme Court rejected a challenge on Thursday to the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is funded, one that could have hobbled the bureau and advanced a central goal of the conservative legal movement: limiting the power of independent agencies. The vote was 7 to 2, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion.


  1. - Google Is Your Friend - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 3:04 pm:

    == Fox Chicago | Former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson fights for ShotSpotter to stay: ‘Can’t put a price on public safety’==

    You know what would make me feel safe? Cops not driving drunk like Eddie Johnson. Maybe we can pay for a surveillance system for that.

  2. - H-W - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 3:08 pm:

    Re: Madison-St. Clair Record

    “Prosecutors from across the state have appealed various court decisions regarding the SAFE-T Act’s application, with a goal of making the SAFE-T Act less harmful to law-abiding citizens,” Haine said.

    This is just a lie, plain and simple. The SAFE-T Act does not cause more harm; it reduces harm.

    But then again, these folks want to secede from Illinois and join Missouri. I can only imagine how much brighter the citizens of Madison County will be once they are schooled in Missouri classrooms where ignoring historical facts is the guiding curricular foundation. I can only imagine how much better women will be in Madison County when they are denied access to medical care and access to birth control and abortion. Keep preaching, Mr. Haine. Keep preaching.

  3. - Suburban Mom - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Chicago mayor ‘confident’ DNC will be safe:===

    Well I wasn’t worried, but NOW I am.

  4. - H-W - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 3:24 pm:

    Re: WTTW and Kerner

    This is a story we should all read, and share. Thanks for sharing it here, Isabel.

  5. - Tax & Spend - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 5:10 pm:

    Illinois has added about 52,000 jobs in government, healthcare and social assistance over the last year—about double the number of its overall new jobs.

    Not a good sign…

  6. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 5:23 pm:

    =Not a good sign…=

    Illinois has long been at the bottom of per cap state employees. The improving financial condition of the state has allowed Illinois to fill positions long left vacant.

    It is actually a good thing.

  7. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 5:31 pm:

    Cue the apologists and their list of excuses for why our unemployment rate is consistently higher than the rest of the nation’s, but absolutely no acknowledgement that maybe it is because we treat employers like the enemy.

    Not everyone can get a taxpayer funded salary.

  8. - Pundent - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 5:53 pm:

    =but absolutely no acknowledgement that maybe it is because we treat employers like the enemy.=

    And yet Illinois has the 5th highest GDP in the country. Not bad for a state supposedly at war with employers.

  9. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 8:52 pm:

    Shotspotter: A grift disguised as an effective anti- crime tool, with the same lobbying behavior as red light cameras. Only red light cameras have a track record of actually working more than five percent of the time.

  10. - City Zen - Thursday, May 16, 24 @ 9:17 pm:

    ==Illinois has long been at the bottom of per cap state employees.==

    Most high population states like Illinois rank near the bottom, mostly due to economies of scale.

    The other factor is these same states have the highest compensation for govt employees, basically paying more for less headcount.

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