Manufacturing-Matters-Illinois-led-the-nation-in-new-manufacturing-job-growthIllinois created more new manufacturing jobs in July than any other state, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The news came on the heels of the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s announcement last month that the statewide unemployment rate continues to drop, ending July with slightly lower unemployment than in June. Non-farm industries added more than 31,000 Illinois jobs in July, including 6,300 in manufacturing – more than any other state during the same time period.

Manufacturing is the state’s largest industry by contribution to state GDP, but also to local economies’ growth. For example, manufacturing occupations in Rock Island County, which borders the Mississippi River on Illinois’ western border, generate almost $5 billion in total annual economic output for the county through three major manufacturing subsectors: farm machinery and equipment manufacturing, fluid milk manufacturing, and meat processing.

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A study conducted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina found the Illinois manufacturing industry brings in over $580 billion a year and supplies 30% of jobs in Illinois. The Quad Cities feel the impact of the manufacturing industry the most with it producing $6 billion in revenue. Manufacturing jobs make up 19% of the economy in Rock Island and Henry County, and makes up 28% of the economy in Mercer County.

The manufacturing industry is the largest industry in Illinois in terms of Gross Domestic Product, as it supplies over 1.7 million jobs statewide and produces $150 billion in labor income each year. Statewide, the manufacturing industry supports 30% of jobs in Illinois. Regionally, the manufacturing industry supplies 13,050 jobs in Rock Island County, and 16,484 jobs in the Illinois Quad Cities and surrounding areas. 

“An important takeaway from this study is the sheer size of manufacturing’s economic presence in Illinois,” said research economist Joseph C. Von Nessen. “Every job created by a manufacturer spurs additional hiring and spending across multiple industries in the state.” 

james webb space telescopeA Northwestern University professor will soon get a chance to monitor a part of the sky for a project studying ‘adolescent galaxies’ using the James Webb Space Telescope.

Allison Strom, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University, will use the telescope – which originally launched on Dec. 25, 2021 – to harvest data for 40 hours before her team will begin analyzing the results.

They’re using the telescope’s pioneering abilities to study the chemistry of galaxies so distant, they haven’t been explored yet. Strom and her team are hopeful that the data will demystify the process of galaxy formation, especially in the context of the early universe.

While the Northwestern team eagerly awaits use of the Webb, another Illinois astronomer’s project is fully underway. Jacob Bean, professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago, is co-leading a team of more than 100 scientists whose project just finished using the new probe to collect exoplanet data. His team will review the data for information about the composition, temperature and potential habitability of exoplanets, which may provide new insights into solar systems beyond our own.

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Bird's eye view of the Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River. Each year, state transportation projects are celebrated and recognized through America's Transportation Awards – and an Illinois bridge came home as a winner. The awards recognize America's best transportation projects – those that prioritize safety, maximize accessibility, utilize resources effectively and incorporate innovative elements such as green space, bike paths, technology and access to public transit.

Last month, judges for the 2022 Midwest Region awards announced that the Interstate 74 Corridor Project, which connects Iowa to Illinois via a multi-use bridge over the Mississippi River, won top honors in the Quality of Life and Community Development category.

For this project, the Illinois and Iowa Departments of Transportation teamed up to take on the task of upgrading the 86-year-old bridge, which was in need of repair. The project was completed and fully opened to traffic on Dec. 2, 2021, and now carries nearly half of all traffic in the Quad Cities region. It was the biggest construction project in the cities' history, with a budget of $981 million.

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chicago skyline 1476622735gTfAccording to Time Out’s annual survey that ranks the best cities in the world, Chicago was named second on the list in 2022, not only to live in but as to visit. The qualities that caused Chicago to soar to the top of the list included aspects such as local food and drink, culture scenes, friendliness, affordability and livability.  

The attractions Chicago possesses are endless. Summer is a booming time for the city due to it being home of hundreds of events such as summer festivals, outdoor events and art exhibitions. Not to mention, Chicago hosts many different events on the weekend that are often free to the public. It is hard to not love this city, as there seems to be something always occurring for people to enjoy.

All of the events Chicago has is one thing that makes the city so great, but one of the best aspects of the city is by far the amount of restaurants it has. Chicago has a vast number of food options that puts the city so high on the ranking list. There are food and drink options all over the city that can please anyone’s taste buds, no matter what they’re craving. Aside from the variety of places to enjoy great food and drinks in Chicago, the city is also known for their beloved deep dish pizza, so it checks out that food is a reason Chicago is ranked so high on the list.

To see the full list of cities ranked on the list visit Time Out’s best cities in the world for 2022