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Positive, but weak jobs report

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* According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, there’s positive but rather weak news on the Illinois job front

The November unemployment rate fell to 10 percent as the state added 600 jobs, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. The decline from 10.1 percent occurs as Illinois has added jobs in eight of the past 11 months.

600 ain’t much, and 500 of those were government jobs. It’s the first time in a while that the government sector has added significant positions. The sector is down 9,500 over the past year.

Professional and business services added 3,600 jobs, which led the pack. 1,700 construction jobs and 1,300 financial services jobs were lost. Manufacturing lost a hundred jobs, but that sector is up 10,800 in the past year.

Illinois led the nation in October with 30,000 new jobs, so that’s why this is more than a little disappointing. I’m glad we’re trending up, but we need a ton of jobs to replace those lost during and after the ‘08 Crash.

* On to other business news. This is a pretty good idea

Now that Chicago has fought off Indianapolis’ dastardly effort to woo away our CME Group Inc. (not that the outcome was ever in doubt; the Windy City has forgotten more about bribery, corporate and otherwise, than they’ll ever know in Indy) it’s time to even the score.

And I’m happy to report that someone here actually is planning to do that. Sort of.

In an under-reported development, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau recently formed a sports commission. It’s been given a reasonable $300,000 start-up budget, an experienced and capable executive director and a mission that ought to raise a few eyebrows east of the state line.

The goal: Develop and implement plans to lure NCAA meets, world wrestling championships, soccer tournaments, auto races and other athletic competitions, mostly amateur, that can bring a lot of cash into town — and that Indianapolis has specialized in producing in recent decades. […]

“We’ve got a reputation of being one of the great sports cities in the world, but we haven’t had any organization whose job it is to attract and build sporting events,” said bureau chief Don Welsh — who, need I add, came here from Indianapolis.

The state should do this as well. As I’ve pointed out before, St. Louis has no basketball team. Let’s steal the Pacers and put them in the Metro East. That’ll teach those Hoosiers a lesson they’ll never forget.

* Now, about those competing corporate tax cut plans

Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, who attended the news conference [with House Republican Leader Tom Cross], said that he wasn’t worried that blowing an $800 million hole in the budget would mean layoffs to state workers. During the veto session, Poe and other downstate Republicans said their top priority was to restore cuts to the budget by Quinn that would have resulted in layoffs and facility closures.

That hole would be closer to $900 million and it would most definitely force state layoffs. Rep. Poe is dreaming.

* More

Seven House Democrats filed a bill on Tuesday to repeal the corporate income tax increase entirely starting on or after Jan. 1, an idea Cross said that House Republicans proposed long before now. Cross said with the seven Democrats and the 54 House Republicans, the House should have no trouble passing corporate tax relief. […]

[House Speaker Michael Madigan Steve Brown] acknowledged that the House was not coming back into session before the end of the year, so there is no way the Democratic bill could take effect by Jan. 1.

Leader Cross first used that line yesterday about how they would have to come back into session this month so that the tax hikes could be rolled back by January 1st.

But this year’s income tax hike was retroactive back to last January 1st, so any tax cut could be retroactive as well. Another unscheduled session isn’t necessary. And, frankly, I don’t want to go back to that place for a while. I’ve had more than my fill.

* Meanwhile, I can’t believe it took them this long to go totally Hollywood

After more than a half-century as a Chicago-based institution, Playboy magazine is packing up for the West Coast.

Executives confirmed Tuesday that the magazine’s editorial, art and photo departments will be based out of the company’s Los Angeles office by May of next year.

“Some of the magazine’s Chicago employees have been asked to relocate, while others have been asked to stay on in Chicago to ensure a seamless transition,” Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey said in a statement.

No final decisions have been made about other departments located at Playboy’s Chicago headquarters, including human resources, public relations, legal, accounting and information technology. Hennessey declined to say how many employees are based in Chicago.

The move has been the subject of much speculation since March, when octogenarian founder Hugh Hefner bought back Playboy Enterprises, the company he founded in his Chicago apartment in 1953. Hefner vacated the Chicago Playboy Mansion and moved to Los Angeles in 1975.

A good friend had a job at Playboy many years ago. I was single back then and she said she could get me invited to some parties. That was very cool of her, I thought, until the first invite finally arrived: A Lake Michigan boat cruise with centerfolds from the 1950s and early 1960s.

I took a pass. But as it turns out, my friend was testing me and I failed. Oh, well.

* Related…

* Four Unemployed for Each Job Opening

* Dems, GOP push plans to roll back biz tax hikes sooner: But small- and medium-sized businesses that don’t file with the state as corporations pay the same individual income tax rate that households do. Kim Clarke Maisch, the Illinois director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which advocates for small- and medium-sized businesses, said some form of tax relief for those paying the individual income tax is necessary.

* How The State Tax Changes Affect You

* More tax breaks for businesses on horizon?

* When it comes to tax breaks for Broadway shows, Chicago is worth an incentive

* Op-Ed: Corporations Wield Power Over Illinois Legislature

* VIDEO: District 300 on their Sears fight

* VIDEO: Illinois is broke. Brought to you by Sears.

* Edward Hospital looking to expand in Naperville

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 12:21 pm


  1. –The goal: Develop and implement plans to lure NCAA meets, world wrestling championships, soccer tournaments, auto races and other athletic competitions, mostly amateur, that can bring a lot of cash into town — and that Indianapolis has specialized in producing in recent decades. […]–

    That’s a tough one, as far as NCAA events go.

    The Big One, of course, is hosting a Final Four, or at least late rounds in March Madness.

    Problem is, the only place in the city where you can pull it off is the United Center. And with long-standing circus and ice show bookings, the Bulls and Blackhawks already have extended roads trips twice a year.

    With both teams needing to get home games in, the logistics and scheduling for NCAA basketball is tough.

    The Big Ten held their basketball tournament here a couple of times, but complained about being a small fish in a big pond, compared to other events.

    Indy has a much more compact downtown and has catered to amateur athletics for a long time. It’s their niche.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 12:44 pm

  2. @Wordslinger The Final Four has even more hurdles than that now: they only hold the event in massive football stadiums, using ALL of the seats instead of cutting the facility in half like they used to. Nothing in Chicago is large enough to hold it (unless the spaceship on the lake got a lid,) while Lucas Oil in Indy is tailor made for such events.

    Comment by Peter Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 1:17 pm

  3. –That hole would be closer to $900 million and it would most definitely force state layoffs. Rep. Poe is dreaming.–

    Whatever Rich, don’t you realize that when you cut corporate tax rates tax revenues just increase out of nowhere?

    Here’s my proposal, have the Republicans and Democrats get serious about balancing the budget and making necessary pension and Medicaid reforms so that the tax increases can actually expire on schedule. Let’s end the gimmicks on both sides.

    Comment by Ahoy Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 1:38 pm

  4. I should point out, in case you haven’t guessed already that my prior post was comparing national data over an 11 year period. Sorry for the typo’s (2011 and not 2001 food stamp caseloads were 46.3 mil.)

    So how does the national data compare with Illinois? We have also failed to exceed the number of jobs that we had way back in 2000 in spite of all the job creation hoopla.

    Total Employment in Illinois

    CES employment peaked in June 2000 for Illinois at 6,057,600. Since then 369,000 jobs have been lost in Illinois according to the employer survey. From a trough of 5,580,500 in December 2009, Illinois has gained 108,100 jobs according to CES employment figures.

    CPS employment in Illinois reached a maximum of 6,356,124 in January 2008. 397,180 jobs have been lost in Illinois since then according to the household survey. From a November 2009 low of 5,856,719, Illinois has added 102,225 jobs according to the CPS survey.

    more including graphs >>

    Comment by oz Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 1:45 pm

  5. I don’t think that the Pacers would sell many tickets in the Metro-East. When the Hawks left St. Louis for Atlanta, the attendance was poor. The NBA and owners would view St. Louis has a poor sports market. Rams are probaly leaving soon. The Blues will be right behind them.

    Comment by Stooges Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 2:53 pm

  6. ===The Blues will be right behind them. ===

    Blues had the 7th highest average attendance last year.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 3:06 pm

  7. And the Rams, while way down in the pack, were less than six thousand avg attendance behind the Bears.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 3:07 pm

  8. I think the easiest place to steal a little bit of Indy’s lunch money is by getting the Big 10 to move its football conference championship game to Soldier Field. Yes, it’s cold, but Big 10 fans should be used to that.

    Comment by 47th Ward Thursday, Dec 15, 11 @ 3:35 pm

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