U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the fourth quarter as businesses stepped up efforts to reduce an inventory glut and a strong dollar and tepid global demand weighed on exports.
The jobless rate in Boone and Winnebago counties in December was 7.2 percent, up from 6.9 percent in the same month in 2014, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said today. In November, the rate was 7.5 percent for the two counties. Statewide, the unemployment rate increased in 11 regions and stayed the same in three in December. The statewide rate was 5.9 percent.Boone and Winnebago counties had one of the highest unemployment rates in the . . .
US home prices increased at a faster clip in November, the gains fueled by solid hiring growth, historically low mortgage rates and a shortage of houses on the market.
State officials say Illinois’ unemployment rate increased in December to 5.9 percent and the state lost a net 16,300 jobs for the month.
The Springfield housing market appeared to return to normal in 2015 — or at least a post-recession normal. Sales of 3,787 homes last year were the highest since the housing crisis hit in 2007, according to figures released Wednesday by Capital Area Realtors. The median sale price of $118,900 was a record for the market. Foreclosure sales were at a five-year low of 326. Despite the improvement, sales remained well below the pre-recession levels of 4,000-plus homes per year . . .
U.S. retail sales fell in December as unseasonably warm weather undercut purchases of winter apparel and cheaper gasoline weighed on receipts at service stations, the latest indication that economic growth braked sharply in the fourth quarter.
Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.
Unemployment dropped in most of Illinois’ metro areas in November but most areas also lost jobs over the past year.
A sharp drop in Illinois grain-farm income for 2015 could continue for several years as a result of low commodity prices, according to University of Illinois projections released Wednesday. The average $20,000 profit projected this year compared with $104,000 in 2014 would be at levels not seen since 1998 through 2002. The 81 percent drop follows eight years of mostly rising prices, yields and income, including as a result of increased use of corn for ethanol productions. Farmland . . .
U.S. companies continued their robust pace of hiring in November, new government data showed Friday, providing a signal of economic health that will likely spur the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this month.