While the country continues to struggle with pressing economic issues, the Peoria area is making great strides. We are seeing new jobs, businesses are expanding and there is exciting potential on the horizon.
In the past year, this region added more jobs than any other Illinois metro area. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, since September 2007, this region has seen 2,000 new jobs in manufacturing. We also saw growth in professional and business services, government, hospitality, and especially the construction industry. The Peoria area continues to grow economically despite our nation’s hardships.
Business expansions are another indicator of economic progress. The Greater Peoria Regional Airport, which is now named the General Wayne Downing Peoria International Airport, recently announced a major expansion with the groundbreaking of a new terminal. This will help the Peoria area continue to focus on a global economy, as well as make our region more accessible to the rest of the world.
Another expansion story comes from Foremost Industrial Technologies (FIT). FIT is a smaller company that has been in the Peoria area for over 80 years selling and servicing new and used electric motors. This expansion allows FIT to compete with other companies that have taken business away from our region for decades. FIT can now draw business from all over the Midwest, which benefits the Peoria-area economy.
Peoria recently hosted the Midwest Energy Solutions event, where hundreds of guests from around the country were on hand to learn what this region is doing to help solve our country’s energy crisis. Some may have been surprised to learn that there are numerous local businesses working to develop renewable fuels. Biofuels Manufacturers of Illinois (BMI) is planting a potential biodiesel crop in Mapleton, and the company is preparing to develop, own and operate a 45MGY biodiesel production facility in Mapleton. BMI could potentially break ground on that facility by the end of the year. EcoThermics is a thermal mechanics company developing a revolutionary heat pump that will not only help people save money on heating and cooling costs, but also helps our environment. EcoThermics will begin testing its product in homes and businesses next year.
It is businesses and stories like these that are forcing people to take notice of our region. People are coming to town, they’re reserving hotel rooms and rental cars, they’re eating out, and they are contributing to our local economy. Between 2,000 and 3,000 travelers arrive in Peoria every week. When our local companies see economic growth like this, we all benefit. iBi