News Around Illinois - January 31, 2020

 
Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Unemployment Rates Fell in December

URBANA - December unemployment rates were down from a year earlier in all fourteen of Illinois’ major metropolitan areas, according to new figures from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The following are the rates and gain of non-farm jobs over the year from three areas:

  • Champaign-Urbana: 3.3%  Gained 3,000 jobs
  • Decatur: 5.1%  Gained 700 jobs
  • Danville: 5.3%  Job number unchanged

Job growth in most metro areas was strongest in education, health services, government, transportation, warehousing and utilities. Illinois’ statewide unemployment rate for December is 3.5 percent, the lowest rate on record. - Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Coronavirus Concerns Could Affect New US-China Trade Deal

URBANA - The coronavirus outbreak has trade experts worried about the fate of the phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China. Todd Hubbs is an agriculture economist at the University of Illinois. He says even before the outbreak there was concern that China wouldn’t be able to meet trade targets set in the agreement. He says the problem is that a slowdown in the Chinese economy means that people buy less goods, including agricultural goods. Hubbs says the coronavirus outbreak has already had a negative impact on commodity prices, especially soybeans. - Dana Cronin, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois AG Sues To Protect ERA

SPRINGFIELD - On Thursday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a lawsuit aimed at defeating a Trump administration effort to block the Equal Rights Amendment. Virginia ratified the amendment on Monday becoming the last state needed. The lawsuit, joined by Virginia and Nevada, was filed in federal court in Washington, DC. It seeks to have the national archivist certify the ERA as the 28th amendment, which would guarantee equal rights regardless of gender. The attorneys general of the last three states to ratify, including Illinois in 2018, said the ERA should be considered the law of the land despite a Congressional deadline for ratification that expired in 1982. - Maureen McKinney, NPR Illinois

Chicago Police Unveil Sweeping Department Reorganization

CHICAGO — Chicago's interim police superintendent has announced sweeping changes to the force, including a plan to move more than 1,100 detectives and specialized officers from the city's five regional headquarters to its 22 smaller districts. Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck said Thursday that the move will put those personnel in closer contact with the officers who patrol those neighborhoods. He also said the department will create an office to carry out civil rights reforms and another new counter-terrorism unit. Beck was named the interim superintendent after Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired the city's previous top cop after saying he lied about an incident in which he was found asleep in his running vehicle. - Associated Press

Story source: Illinois Newsroom