Chamber Members:

The usual job report is covered below on both the federal and state level.  You’ll see some other announcements and reports related to COVID issues as well. One more reminder that tomorrow begins the Tier 3 mitigation measures for all state regions.

We wrap up with the announcement of our next virtual conference scheduled for December 10th.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Governor Announces New Rollback of Capacity
All 11 regions will move into Tier 3 effective tomorrow (Friday, November 20) at 12:01am. The new mitigation requirements to combat the surge of COVID-19 across Illinois can be found on our resource page and also attached.

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 12 percent test positivity rate for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability AND declining COVID hospitalizations in 7 out of the last 10 days.

Follow the latest regional metrics at:

U.S. Unemployment Claims Rise
The number of applications for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, indicating continued challenges for the U.S. economic recovery as coronavirus infections increased around the country. Initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, rose to a seasonally adjusted 742,000 last week, up from the 711,000 filed a week earlier.

Employers have continued to expand head counts in recent weeks. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, fell to 6.4 million for the week ended Nov. 7 from 6.8 million a week earlier, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Labor Department. Continuing claims declined throughout the summer and into the fall, as many laid-off workers found jobs or exhausted their state benefits.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Nov. 7 were in Washington, California, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Louisiana. The number of jobless applications fell most sharply in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, and New Jersey.

Statewide Unemployment Rate Declines in October
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -3.6 percentage points to 6.8 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were about unchanged based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The September monthly decrease in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from -12,000 to -9,200 jobs. The September unemployment rate was revised upward from the preliminary report, from 10.2 percent to 10.4 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate was -0.1 percentage point lower than the national unemployment rate reported for October, which was 6.9 percent, down -1.0 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +3.1 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.7 percent.

In October, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+13,800), Construction (+4,200) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,100). The industry sectors that reported the largest payroll declines were: Government (-13,500), Educational and Health Services (-6,500) and Information (-1,500).

Joliet City Hall to Close
As a precautionary safety measure, City Hall will be closed to the public beginning Friday, November 20, 2020 until further notice. Therefore, the Administrative Hearings scheduled for November 24, 2020 and December 8, 2020 will be postponed as follows:


Ordinance Violations issued by the City of Joliet Police Department (including Parking Tickets) will be heard at 9 a.m. & Property/Building Code Violations will be heard at 1 p.m. on the dates listed above.

Notices will be mailed out to the addresses that we currently have on file. If you’ve recently moved and need to update your address, please contact the Adjudication Coordinator at 815-724-3794 M-F from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Ready to Order Campaign
The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College, in partnership with the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and the Joliet Area Bar and Restaurant Guide, have launched Ready to Order, a social media campaign to drive awareness and use of Will and Grundy County restaurants’ carryout and delivery services.

Mike Wilczynski, manager of the Illinois SBDC at JJC, said that the goal of Ready to Order is to engage community members to support local restaurants with different themes throughout the week, like Menu Monday and Try Something New Wednesday.  “We encourage everyone to share this information everywhere – keep it on your refrigerator, share it on social media. The hope is other organizations will support this simple but powerful action,” Wilczynski said.

The daily “Ready to Order” suggestions include:
Menu Monday – Check out the latest area menus.
Take-out Tuesday – Before you leave work, order some take-out tonight.
Try Something New Wednesday – Carry-out from a restaurant that you’ve never tried before.
Thursday Delivery – Kick back and let tonight’s dinner come to you.
Friday Super Special – Check out your favorite restaurant’s special of the weekend.
Weekend Tailgate – Enjoy the game from your couch with tailgate food from your local favorite.

A flyer is attached to this message as we suggest you print out for your office and also to share with employees.

U.S. Retail Sales Climbed at a Slower Pace in October
U.S. retail sales rose in October at their slowest pace since the spring, another sign the nation’s economic recovery is losing steam as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

Consumer-spending data from private companies suggest shoppers turned more cautious this month, too, as last month’s jump in virus cases accelerated in November, prompting some officials to impose new restrictions, mask mandates and other mitigation strategies to slow its spread.

“We’re going into a difficult winter,” said James Sweeney, chief economist at Credit Suisse, pointing to rising Covid-19 infections, new local business restrictions and dimming prospects for a fresh government relief package this year.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in October from a month earlier. That was well below a 1.6% increase in September, and it marked the smallest monthly rise in retail sales since May, when spending rebounded from sharp declines in the early phase of the pandemic. While spending on vehicles, electronics and at home-improvement stores increased last month, sales slipped in key categories such as grocery store, clothing, and restaurant spending.

Small Cities Are A Big Draw for Remote Workers During the Pandemic
Since COVID-19 has allowed people to work hundreds or thousands of miles from their company’s office, this trend appears to be speeding up dramatically. More young, well-paid, and well-educated people are relocating permanently from big metro areas such as Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and New York to small cities such as Burlington, which has a population just under 43,000.

It’s a shift that could revitalize these places, change the way many Americans choose where to live and widen the supply of workers for employers struggling to fill jobs in high-demand fields, even during a recession, according to policymakers and economists.

Other top destinations, based on the increase in the number of new arrivals this spring over last spring, included Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Buffalo, N.Y.; El Paso, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Tulsa, Okla.; Greenville, S.C.; and Knoxville, Tenn.

The most common reason workers say they are leaving places such as San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles is the escalating cost of housing, Redfin reports. That sensitivity to housing prices is intensified by COVID-19 restrictions that have made residents question what they’re getting for their money. Before COVID-19, “it wasn’t a big enough trend for anyone to notice, but the pandemic has kind of poured gasoline on it,” said Jason Tyszko, vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Sixty-six percent of professionals in technology, finance and other fields would now consider leaving San Francisco if they could permanently work from home, according to a survey by Blind, an online forum for people in those industries; 63% said they would leave Seattle and 69% that they would leave New York.

If remote work continues to expand at this pace, it also could help businesses cast a wider net for employees they say they’ve been having trouble finding. Technology companies in particular struggle to attract enough qualified applicants in the cities where they’re based.

Recruiters are increasingly listing remote work on employment websites. The number of information technology postings employers specify can be done remotely is up 58% so far this year compared with the same period last year, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association.

SBDC at JJC Update
Here is a list of upcoming programs delivered from the Small Business Development Center through Joliet Junior College:

Selling for Non-Salespeople
Date: 11/24/20
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST)
Is your B2B product or service really awesome – BUT – you aren’t confident in your ability to sell it? Most of us feel like introverts at times, but you can join us for a simple session to act like an extrovert. Hear tips on how to do the prospecting, presenting, and closing to help you get new customers to say YES! Join Mike Wilczynski for the no-cost webinar.

E-Commerce Webinar – Third Party Platforms to Sell Your Product
Date: 12/3/20
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM (CST)
E-commerce – Third Party Platforms to Sell Your Product Louis Kreppert has sold over $500,000 of product using platforms like Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Google Merchant. Learn how to sell your products where the eyeballs are – without paying for advertising.

Funding Your Business
Date: 12/8/20
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CST)
Funding your business is critical for start-ups as well as companies who are looking to expand. Establishing business credit is the first step. Get a basic understanding of what banks look for to qualify for a loan from Nancy Kuzma of Old Plank Trail Community Bank/Wintrust Community Bank.

Video Marketing for Small Business
Date: 12/10/20
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CST)
Video production once meant bringing in a full production crew to produce a television commercial. Now, a child can produce a quality video on their phone. And that video is a very important component to your website, social media pages, product information, as well as your local advertising. Learn the benefits of video marketing and hear from Mike Puglitsch at Acclaim Media about how easy the process can be.

Website Development
Date: 12/15/20
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (CST)
A website is more than just a placeholder to occupy property in cyberspace. Your website should be the central point that your social media, SEO, email marketing, pay per click ads, content, CRM…. orbit around to generate business for your business. Join Jason McCoy from WSI to discuss how to develop a website that meets your needs.

Starting Your Business in Illinois
Date: 12/17/20
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (CST)
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. In this no-cost overview of Starting Your Business in Illinois, we will touch on many aspects of your business plan, including legal, accounting, banking, marketing, and sales.

21 Topics in 21 Minutes for 2021 Growth
Date: Scheduled one-on-one session
In less than 30 minutes, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College will help you prioritize key 2021 business plans whether it is for your people, your product, your marketing, your sales, your money or the impact of this crisis. In this short, one-on-one exercise, we will help you determine up to three of the biggest opportunities for growth in the year ahead. We will offer no-cost tools to develop your strategy for success in those areas. Email us at and we will send you a link for registration.

Program Notices & Reminders
Village of Shorewood Announces CARES Small Business Relief Program
The goal of the Shorewood CARES Small Business Relief Program (“Program”) is to provide financial support for the most impacted Shorewood small businesses in order to support their continued success as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic into 2021.  Providing a monthly reimbursement for payroll and rent/mortgage (two of the most expensive operating costs) through this Program will ensure that business owners are not only able to keep the business open but also to focus on the future of their business.  This Program coupled with the 2021 Business Fee Waivers are intended to encourage business owners to look to the future and set the stage for a successful new year.

Learn more about the program by clicking here –

ComEd Bill Assistance
Small-business customers can visit or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more or apply for the Small Business Assistance Program.

ComEd’s bill-assistance programs also include flexible payment options for residents, financial assistance for past-due balances and usage alerts for current bills. Any customer who is experiencing a hardship or difficulty with their electric bill should call ComEd immediately at 1-800-334-7661 (1-800-EDISON-1), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to learn more and enroll in a program.

Business Interruption Grant
Funds still remain and the program is still open for application. Please visit:
Low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are still available to Illinois small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations affected by Civil Unrest from May 26, through July 30, 2020.

The SBA has opened a Virtual Business Recovery Center to apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at Business owners and residents should contact the SBA Customer Service Representatives at
(800) 659-2955 for assistance in completing their applications. Requests for SBA disaster loan program information may be obtained by emailing

Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million. The SBA offers economic injury loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. Eligible small businesses include but are not limited to hotels, restaurants, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.

The rates on these working capital loans are 3 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. Eligibility for the loan is based on the size and type of business and its financial resources. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Illinois SBA Offerings
Fridays with Fergie
Open office hours with SBA Illinois Deputy District Director Mark Ferguson. Ask your questions about PPP or anything else and learn from your peers. Friday, Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m.

Finally, we will host our next Virtual Conference on Thursday, December 10th. This will be our Town Hall 2 version featuring Dr. Arvid Johnson from the University of St. Francis, Ruth Colby from Silver Cross Hospital, Sue Olenek from the Will County Health Department, Barry Kolanowski from Senior Services Center, and Mike Paone from the Joliet Chamber. More information to follow.

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