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Tri-County Economy on Rise, Lay-offs Could Slow Progress

PEORIA HEIGHTS - Experts say the outlook for the tri-county economy is looking up, But recent events could slow progress.
PEORIA  HEIGHTS - Experts say the outlook for the Tri-County economy is looking up, But recent events could slow progress.
Tuesday in Peoria Heights, vice chairman of Busey Bank Ed Scharlau spoke to business leaders on what trends he's seeing in the local economy at the Country Club of Peoria.
He says real estate, agriculture and retail all saw jumps from last year. Retail in Tri-county area jumped nearly three percent in July.
However, he says tri-county unemployment is above the state average.  Job cuts and lay-offs are factors, including in manufacturing.
Recently, Caterpillar announced it would undergo lay-offs, and experts believe that could slow the  local economy.
“I think we all know that if an industry is growing and adding people, those people are coming in. They are buying a home, buying a car. They are buying who knows what. But if they don't have jobs, not going to be spending,” said Scharlau.
Another key factor for the area's growth is an increase in local population. He says Peoria, Woodford and Tazewell are three of 22 counties in Illinois to see a population increase in recent years. There are 122 counties in the state.  
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