Preparing for tornadoes; Latest unemployment report

Preparing for severe weather

As we move into the final weeks of spring, the potential for severe weather increases in the Midwest, and Illinois is no exception. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has posted a fact sheet on tornado safety and preparedness to help Illinoisans keep themselves and their loved ones safe during storms.

One important distinction which forecasters make during severe weather is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch is typically issued over a large area for several hours to signal the approach of thunderstorms which could produce a tornado. A warning is issued for a specific area when a tornado has actually been sighted or tracked on radar.

Alerts of an approaching tornado include a single-tone warning sounded by a public siren and by cell phone. Once such a warning is issued for your area, authorities advise immediately moving to a safe shelter until the storm has passed. These shelters can include basements or interior rooms without windows. Even once a storm has passed it is important to remain on alert for threats like downed power lines or floodwaters. IEMA further advises everyone to have a disaster kit prepared in the event of an emergency.

April unemployment down by 0.1%

It was another month of very gradual decline in Illinois’ unemployment rate, as the April figures were released by the Department of Employment Security (IDES). According to IDES, unemployment in Illinois fell from 4.7% in March to 4.6% in April, continuing the long, gradual recovery from the high unemployment of the pandemic.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 9300 in April. Most of the state’s growth happened in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, which was especially hard-hit by the pandemic shutdowns as it includes such employers as hotels, bars and restaurants. One year ago, in April 2021, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.6%.

Just like every month, it seems, Illinois’ job growth lagged behind our more business-friendly neighboring states and the national rate as a whole. In April, Indiana posted a 2.2% unemployment rate, Missouri was at 3.4% and Wisconsin 2.8%. Nationally unemployment stands at 3.6%.

DHS creates help line for formula shortage

Illinois families in need of answers to questions about the baby formula shortage are encouraged to call the Illinois Department of Human Services’ (DHS) help line at 1-800-843-6154. According to DHS, “State public health officials are urging families to purchase a modest supply of formula during the shortage, which is expected to ease in the coming weeks.”

You can find more information by clicking here.

Coffee stop in Gilman

I was glad to stop by for coffee and breakfast with Joda Crabtree and some of the regulars at K&H in Gilman. We talked about everything from family to the University of Illinois, to local business and state and local government. Shared lots of good stories and important conversations around Illinois government. There was a lot going on. Great group!

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,210,923,655 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $3.2 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.

Did You Know?

A Navy officer from Illinois, Captain Daniel Vincent Gallery, led the operation which captured the German submarine U-505, also capturing a code machine which helped turn the tide of World War II in the Atlantic. The submarine he helped capture on June 4, 1944, was eventually brought to Illinois and is now on permanent exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

More news from around the state

Foster children held in jails, shelters – workers threatened, attacked: a state agency in crisis

Ex-Illinois House leader Arroyo sentenced for bribery scheme

Illinois Conservation Foundation accepting nominations for Outdoor Hall of Fame until July 11

IDOT installing birdhouses to help bluebirds, native species thrive in Illinois