Pain of casino closings reaches far into market

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Yomary Blanco cleans rooms at Trump Plaza, one of three Atlantic City casinos that could shut down by September. Her husband works the buffet at the Showboat, which is scheduled to close on Aug. 31.

With two young daughters, a mortgage, no savings and no obvious plan B, the couple is afraid of what the future holds.

U.S. firms report more sales, hiring in 2nd quarter

DETROIT (AP) — Rising sales helped boost hiring and wages at U.S. businesses in the second quarter, and companies are optimistic that the trends will continue this fall, according to a new survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

Economic development chief sets sights on budget

CHAMPAIGN — The new executive director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. said he is determined that the group has a break-even budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

On Wednesday, the group's board of directors approved a core budget of $468,000 that calls for a steep increase in private-sector giving and a leaner staff.

Bill puts qualification before conviction in job search

URBANA — Have you ever been convicted of a crime, other than a minor traffic violation?

For former offenders, that question, routinely included in most job applications, can be the source of much anxiety as they reintegrate into society and start looking for a job, a key step in keeping them from sliding back into a criminal lifestyle.

Pension reform may be 'back to square one'

Expert: Justices' decision good for UI employees, bad for school's financial future

An Illinois Supreme Court ruling on state health insurance premiums could spell doom for the state's recent pension reform law, many court watchers agree.

Employers win healthy worksite designations

CHAMPAIGN — Six Champaign County employers have been named winners of Illinois Healthy Worksite designations.

The winners, announced by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, include Carle, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, the City of Urbana, Human Kinetics and Parkland College.

Quick read: Minimum wage

As Illinois ponders an increase in its minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour, here are some facts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and who gets it:

Jobless rate dips throughout area

CHAMPAIGN — With one exception, unemployment rates for most counties in East Central Illinois have fallen below 7 percent.

The lone holdout is Vermilion County, where the unemployment rate fell in May, but only to 9.4 percent.

Otherwise, most area counties had unemployment rates between 6 and 7 percent, and two area counties — Ford and Moultrie — enjoyed rates under 6 percent.

Updated: 2.5% raises ahead for most UI employees


CHAMPAIGN — Most University of Illinois employees can expect to receive average raises of 2.5 percent later this summer, an amount that is in line with those in recent years.

The university's merit-based general salary program calls for raises of 2.5 percent, effective with the new academic year in August, President Bob Easter announced Monday.

City considers extending summer jobs program with school district

CHAMPAIGN — The city and school district's summer jobs program for high school students would continue for the foreseeable future under a contract the city council will consider this week.

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