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December 2, 2016

The University of Illinois Flash Index for November fell to 104.1 from its 104.3 level in October, marking the third consecutive month of decline in the measure of economic activity in Illinois. The index, published by the University's Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA), has declined in five of the past six months. These declines indicate a slowing in economic growth in the state but the economy continues to grow just the same. A Flash Index reading of 100 or below would indicate that the Illinois economy was contracting.

Enter this year's Safe Electricity Photo Contest by submitting a photo that features a hazardous situation that involves electricity. This can include such subject matter as impending/bad weather, storm damage, downed lines, accidents with power poles, large equipment near power lines, exposed wires, damaged outlets, and much more! All finalists will receive a gift. The winner will receive a GoPro camera and will also be featured in a Safe Electricity graphic design! There is no limit to the number of entries. Deadline to submit is December 16, 2016.

There were 8 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. working or looking for work in 2014, making up 5% of the civilian labor force, according to new Pew Research Center estimates using government data. The number was unchanged and the share was down slightly since 2009, the year the Great Recession officially ended. From 2009 to 2014, when the number of unauthorized immigrant workers was stable, eight U.S. states – Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, South Carolina and Rhode Island – had statistically significant declines in the number of unauthorized immigrants in their workforces.

While local agencies have long supported entrepreneurs in starting businesses with low-cost loans, tax concessions, and other incentives, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in groups of residents pooling funds to take an equity or leverage position in these businesses. Community Supported Enterprises or Businesses (CSEs or CSBs) are becoming more common to retain essential businesses such as a grocery store or a restaurant in a small community. These establishments add social capital and residents see the value of investing in a CSE even without an expected financial return. The NIU Center for Governmental Studies, with support from the NCRCRD, UW-Extension, MSU-Extension, and IIRA prepared a report on Emergence and Growth of CSEs documenting experiences in various states. The report argues that the Community Store model, popular in Vermont, may be useful in small Midwestern communities facing population and economic declines.


December 3 - Putting Small Acres to Work - NIU Rockford Meeting and Conference Center
December 8 - Site Selection Webinar - Noon - 1 p.m.
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