As we start the new decade and a new year, what areas of our economy will continue to thrive and where is the room for improvement?
Following local economic trends can be a bit like riding a roller coaster. One day a round of lay offs, followed by a big investment announcement. But those involved in long tern economic development for our region say this is normal and that Central Illinois has a history of resilience.
Looking back at 2019, Chris Setti, the CEO of The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council said the foundation of Central Illinois' economy, manufacturing, saw ups and downs.
"The cyclical nature of the construction, mining economies and the commodities that underline some of that is going to make us ride a little bit of a roller coaster. Some announcements of lay offs, Caterpillar and at Liberty Steal you know that's kind of part of being in Central Illinois." said Setti
He said this same cycle is seen with small business.
"That's the nature of small business. I don't think it's endemic to the region or the City of Peoria. Businesses close, but then also businesses open and I don't know if that's endemic of any economic worry." said Setti who emphasized that their organization is still holding 'Rural Matters' meetings, an extension of their 'Big Table Greater Peoria' meeting, looking for public input on how to improve the area.
"The bodies that are going to be downtown and what that will start to fuel in terms of I think businesses having a vision of the future that is growing as opposed to a little more stale which we have seen in the last few years." said Roethler
While the Warehouse District continues to stack up on new storefronts, the MacArthur Highway corridor revitalization could merge it all together. With millions of dollars in renovations, landscaping, and construction planned, and a goal of bringing life to the south side of the River City.
"It's reflective not only of our intention to support investment but also of a budget that has committed funding to support the future of the corridor to be a much more robust place and I think part of that readiness is because we primed the neighborhood next door." said Roethler
Setti said one of the biggest issues we continue to see in this area and across the nation is a workforce job skills miss-match.
In-terms of the minimum wage which just hit $10 on January 1st, both said it's too early to gauge the potential impact.