Peoria’s economy slip-sliding away

The Peoria Journal Star has the latest results from its regional economic survey, produced by Bradley University. As the headline says: “Economic decline continues.”

I was struck by this graph, quoting Bernard Goitein of Bradley’s Center for Business and Economic Research, on employment during the recession in 2003:

Declining to predict whether area employment will drop close to that again, he said, “The last time the shrinkage was over a period of about three years, so it wasn’t something that happened instantly. Who is to say how long this recession will last,” he said.

Think back to what the Peoria Journal Star reported that Caterpillar chairman Jim Owens said during Barack Obama’s visit a couple of weeks ago:

“It all depends on demand. (Caterpillar) went from 70,000 to 112,000 employees in five years before we hit a brick wall in late 2008.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to make adjustments. If things get worse, we’ll always adjust production.”

The math: 112,000 employees – 22,000 layoffs so far = 90,000. That means there are 20,000 more layoffs to come before Cat is back to its pre-bubble level. Scary stuff.

Full disclosure: My wife works for Caterpillar, but I don’t have any special knowledge of any plans that Cat might have.

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