Chamber Members:

Happy Friday! A lot of news to share today before we break for the weekend. Good news comes from the County in that they’re opening round two of their grant program. We catch up today on the employment numbers released yesterday and unfortunately must report that the county has landed on the IDPH warning list. Don’t forget to register for our upcoming luncheon and also the meet the candidate’s forum.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Will County Small Business Assistance Round 2
Will County will re-open and expand the Small Business Assistance Grant (CARES) Program on October 19, 2020.  Small businesses, if located within Will County; with less than fifty (50) full time employees, and less than $50 million in annual gross revenues are eligible to receive up to $15,000.  Applications in English and Spanish will be available on the county website early next week. The application deadline to apply for these funds is November 16, 2020.

In its first round, Will County has approved nearly 600 business applications to date, and additional approvals are pending. Here is the link to the existing page with further information about the program:

Will County Lands on Warning List
One month after added on mitigations for our Region 7, the IDPH has placed the county on their “warning level” list. The county health department is encouraging everyone to continue to practice social distancing, proper mask wearing, and frequent washing of hands. Please encourage all to follow suggestions as we do not want to go back to further mitigation efforts again.

Counties appear on the IDPH Warning Level list when they have hit two of a variety of factors showing signs of increased Coronavirus activity. One is a rate of new COVID-19 cases that is over 50 per 100,000 residents. For Will County, the week of October 4-10 showed 133 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents (the previous week’s level was 87). The second factor Will County hit was a substantial increase in the amount of COVID-19 deaths. Will County had 13 deaths for the week of October 4-10, after a slow period of COVID-19 deaths in late September. You can find this information on the IDPH web site by clicking here:

Latest on Relief Discussions
The bipartisan talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Steven Mnuchin inched forward Thursday, even as Senate GOP leaders remain steadfast in their opposition to a multitrillion-dollar stimulus deal.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke for nearly an hour and a half Thursday afternoon, making progress as the Treasury secretary largely agreed to the Democrats’ plan for a national testing and contact tracing initiative, according to a Pelosi spokesperson. It’s another sign that the two sides are gradually whittling down their list of disputes, offering at least some hope for an eleventh-hour deal that could deliver trillions to American families and businesses battered by the pandemic.

Still, most Democrats and Republicans admit that it would be next to impossible to draft and pass a trillion dollar-plus bill in the 19 days before the election. Mnuchin himself said this week that passing a bill before Nov. 3 would be “difficult.”

If a deal isn’t reached by Nov. 3, many Democrats believe nothing will pass Congress until a new administration, and possibly a new Senate, is in charge. But even if that happens, it could take months.

Just before the Thursday call with Mnuchin, Pelosi addressed a group of House Democrats, where she sounded upbeat and urged members to continue to demand a sweeping deal — rather than caving to the GOP’s earlier demands for a smaller bill. Pelosi told her members that they have “maximum leverage” on the GOP right now, with President Donald Trump himself demanding that Republicans put forward an even bigger number, according to sources on the call.

National Employment Report
The Labor Department said Thursday that another 898,000 people filed jobless claims last week, highlighting how new layoffs are persisting at historical highs more than six months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week’s initial unemployment claims tally also shows a concerning spike of more than 53,000 compared to the previous week’s revised figure. The government also said the total number of people claiming state and federal unemployment benefits topped 25.2 million for the week ending Sept. 26.

The DOL said the states that saw the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 3 were Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts. New Jersey, Kansas, and Pennsylvania saw the largest decreases during that same time.

Illinois Employment Report
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.8 percentage point to 10.2 percent, while nonfarm payrolls lost -12,000 jobs in September, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The August monthly change in payrolls was revised upward from the preliminary report, from +66,000 to +85,600 jobs. The August unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report and held at 11.0 percent.

The September payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the September payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

The state’s unemployment rate was +2.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September, which was 7.9 percent, down -0.5 percentage points from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +6.5 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.7 percent.

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+9,300), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+7,700), and Other Services (+3,800). The industry sectors that reported the largest payroll declines were: Professional and Business Services (-12,400), Government (-8,500) and Educational and Health Services (-7,300).

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -412,900 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-130,800), Professional and Business Services (-82,900) and Educational and Health Services (-46,600). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -6.8 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -6.4 percent over-the-year decline in September.

The number of unemployed workers declined from the prior month, a -6.2 percent decrease to 652,100 but was up +171.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up +1.2 percent over-the-month and down -0.7 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

PPP Forgiveness Webinars
The SBA Illinois District Office is hosting two upcoming small business training sessions related to the new simplified forgiveness process for businesses with PPP loans at or below $50,000.  The sessions are coming up tomorrow and Monday.

Here are the details to participate:

Saturday, 10/17 @ 10 AM –

Monday, 10/19 @ 2:30 PM –

Judge gives attorneys debating Pritzker’s emergency authority more time to submit paperwork
Attorneys argued over the extent of Governor Pritzker’s emergency authority Wednesday, but will have to wait on a decision in the case. Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grishow said she will rule as soon as possible, but it appears that won’t happen for more than a week. She gave attorneys until Oct. 23 to submit final paperwork that could be used in her decision.

Grishow heard arguments on three issues Wednesday, the biggest being whether lawsuits filed in six counties challenging Pritzker’s authority to issue stay at home orders and other measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic should be dismissed.

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who filed the lawsuits on behalf of various clients, said Pritzker exceeded his authority under state law by issuing orders that affected the entire state, even though not all parts of the state had the same level of outbreaks.

Lawyers representing Pritzker from Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office said the governor doesn’t have to wait until large numbers of people get sick and die before taking action to control a pandemic. They said a plain reading of Illinois law allows Pritzker to take the actions he did.

Pritzker’s attorneys initially argued that DeVore shouldn’t be allowed to make oral arguments Wednesday because he missed deadlines to file briefs, deadlines Grishow said would be strictly enforced. Grishow said that while she wanted her deadlines met, she could allow DeVore to make his case.

Lawyers also debated whether an early July ruling in Clay County that Pritzker exceeded his authority should be vacated. Pritzker’s lawyers said the ruling should be voided because the case wasn’t official back in state court. State lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have the case transferred to federal court.

DeVore said precedent shows the case was back in state court even though an official entry hadn’t been made in court records.

Some More Advice to Share
Don’t settle for second string: When it comes to hiring a team that will adapt and grow with your business, remember to hire only the very best players. While it may take time to find a perfect fit (and time might be in short supply), in the long run, hiring the best person for the job is always a better move than settling for a job candidate you’re not sure about. — Christel Slaughter, CEO, SSA Consultants

Ask for help: If finance isn’t your forte, build a financial team that can support you in that area. As more businesses change their revenue models and otherwise pivot to survive the pandemic, projecting finances has become more important, but you want to make sure you have an expert on hand who can help you build accurate projections and plan confidently for your business’s short and long-term future. — Sarah Jennings, Principal, Maner Costerisan

Be goal-oriented: Social media marketing is a constantly evolving landscape that should be approached strategically. Don’t just promote your brand on every available platform and call it a day. Instead, think about what you’re trying to accomplish by marketing on social platforms. Are you trying to generate sales? Get more traffic to your website? Figure out your end goal; then build a marketing strategy that supports that goal and measure your success against it. — Hailley Griffis, Head of Public Relations, Buffer

Secure your data: When the pandemic began, there were so many things to keep in mind that investing in your business’s cybersecurity may have been an afterthought. But now that remote work has become the norm for many, it’s time to make sure you have the proper security measures in place. — Spencer Ferguson, CEO, Wasatch I.T.

Candidates Forum
Next Thursday, the 22nd of October, the Chamber will host a Candidates forum with 12 invited. The following offices have been invited – US Congress District 11, Illinois Senate Dist. 43, Illinois Senate Dist. 49, Illinois House Dist. 37, Illinois House Dist. 97, and Will County Executive. More information and to register for this virtual conference at 3:00 pm, visit this link:

Finally, please join the Joliet Chamber, Megan Millen – City Center Partnership Board Chair, and Rod Tonelli – City Center Partnership Economic Development Chair, for a HYBRID luncheon on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 11:30 AM to discuss:

  • City Center Partnership Overview
  • Downtown Development Project Updates
  • Review of Downtown Grants and Impacts
  • Preview of some of the exciting things coming to Downtown

Guests will have the opportunity to attend in-person (limited to 50 guests) or virtually via You can register here:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct