Recap with Rosenthal


Organized retail theft an increasing threat to Illinois bricks-and-mortar retailers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the cost of Illinois retail theft at more than $4 billion per year. The initial figure of $2 billion, representing the value of the goods directly lost to theft, must be more than doubled to cover the ancillary costs of retail shrinkage. These include the higher operating costs required to pay workers to expose themselves to a high-crime environment, insurance costs related to high-theft environments, maintenance costs to operate video and other security systems, and many other related expenses.

Rob Karr of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) agrees with observers who are seeing growing ‘flash mob’ retail theft activity. Many residents are now familiar with video scenes of insta-gatherings which overwhelm a store. Karr reports that IRMA’s investigation has found that many of these thefts are organized behind the scenes by criminal gangs. The flash-mob theft not only overwhelms store personnel, but enables the gathering of a large quantity of desirable goods. The goods can be shipped by fast freight to a faraway customer who does not ask too many questions. International freight globalization is putting old-fashioned theft ‘fences’ into the shade. IRMA’s Karr spoke to WTTW-TV on Monday, August 21.


Much of Illinois enjoys relief from drought conditions; challenges continue in some subregions. Inadequate rainfall in late spring/early summer 2023 threatened Illinois agricultural production and impacting key milestones of field crop maturity. A combination of high heat and adequate-to-drenching rainfall in many sections of Illinois has improved the soil conditions reported by many farmers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers report 73% of fields have “adequate” or “surplus” topsoil moisture, more than enough to enable corn and beans to move to the next level.

Farmers say that 64% of Illinois cornfields are now showing “good” or “excellent” condition, with corn dough reaching 80%. This is in line with the five-year average. For soybeans, 65% of the bean fields are “good” or “excellent,” with 86% of the crop setting pods, slightly above the five-year average.

Not all sections of Illinois are doing well right now. Precipitation reports indicate continued inadequate rainfall in some parts of northern, northwestern, and western Illinois. The USDA this week added McDonough, McHenry, and Mercer counties to the list of 35 counties where farmers may qualify for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency with respect to cash flow situations arising from the 2023 growing season.


July 2023 unemployment figures for Illinois. The unemployment figures for July reflected overall economic recovery from the job-destroying effects of the 2020 pandemic and economic slowdown, with Illinois employers supporting more than 6,153,000 nonfarm Illinois payroll jobs.

This was up 11,200 jobs from June 2023, and reflected an increase of approximately 89,700 jobs from the number supported one year earlier.

However, economic and job-creating performance continued to lag behind that of the U.S. as a whole. Figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate a nationwide unemployment rate of 3.5% in July 2023. The Illinois July 2023 figure of 4.5% was 100 basis points behind the nationwide figure. The comparable jobless rate in Indiana was 3.3%; unemployment was counted at 2.7% in Iowa and in Missouri; the same number was 2.6% in Wisconsin, reflecting an economic status that was 190 basis points better in the Badger State than in Illinois.

Within Illinois, July 2023 unemployment was highest in zones oriented towards traditional manufacturing activities. The benchmark jobless rates for July were 6.6% in Danville, 6.9% in Decatur, and 6.8% in Rockford.

New Illinois Law will Help EMTs and Firefighters

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