Illinois dentists borrow to keep treating state employees amid budget crisis

By Harvard Zhang When Dr. Joshua Renken opened his Springfield clinic in 2003 after getting his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, he didn’t foresee waiting for months to be paid $500,000 owed him by the state of Illinois for seeing its employees, suffering from a cash crunch, and borrowing from a commercial bank against his business … Continue reading Illinois dentists borrow to keep treating state employees amid budget crisis

Many tears, no budget: House Democrats push $15 wage floor for social workers

By Harvard Zhang Springfield, Ill. — A number of bills proposed by Democratic representatives to boost social workers’ benefits including a $15 minimum hourly wage will face full House scrutiny after clearing a key committee Wednesday, despite the already deeply-cut funding for state social services. The majority Democratic lawmakers, holding 11 seats out of 20 on … Continue reading Many tears, no budget: House Democrats push $15 wage floor for social workers

Lack of state budget devastates cash-strapped school districts: Superintendent Smith

By Harvard Zhang Springfield, Ill. — Illinois School Superintendent Tony Smith warned legislators that, without a K-12 budget by July 1, 187 school districts will have less than 100 days of cash on hand. Testifying Tuesday before the House appropriations committee, Smith underlined the looming cash crunch facing Illinois school districts, adding that they’re also having to evaluate … Continue reading Lack of state budget devastates cash-strapped school districts: Superintendent Smith

Vote informed: BallotReady stresses local races

By Harvard Zhang Are you voting for someone because you think he or she has a cool name? Or it’s the first person on the ballot? Do you ever guess for offices further down the sheet or simply leave blanks? In this big election year, a pair of online services want to empower you with … Continue reading Vote informed: BallotReady stresses local races

Interest rate, stock market uncertainties weigh on Northern Trust outlook

By Harvard Zhang Analysts covering Northern Trust Corp. are divided on the financial holding company’s year ahead thanks to a mix of unclear macroeconomic influencers, the corporation’s growth opportunities and its uncertain ability to wield the ax on expenses. Clouds gather over the Chicago-based corporation’s outlook with unclear interest rate movements and a volatile equity … Continue reading Interest rate, stock market uncertainties weigh on Northern Trust outlook

Joy Global shares digging out from their deep hole

By Harvard Zhang Joy Global Inc.’s shares surged after the opening bell Thursday after the company – plagued by abysmal conditions in the mining industry, tumbling metal prices and sluggish global demand – turned in a deeper-than-anticipated fiscal first quarter loss. In the quarter ended Jan. 29, the Milwaukee, Wis.-based maker of mining equipment swung … Continue reading Joy Global shares digging out from their deep hole

Dollar Tree earnings miss despite Family Dollar lift

By Harvard Zhang Dollar Tree Inc. posted worse-than-expected fourth quarter profits despite positive results — and surging sales numbers – from its recent acquisition of a major competitor. In the quarter ended Jan. 30, the Chesapeake, Va.-based discount retailer reported net income of $229.0 million, or 97 cents per diluted share, up 10.8 percent from … Continue reading Dollar Tree earnings miss despite Family Dollar lift

Durable goods orders jumped 4.9 percent in January

By Harvard Zhang Orders for big-ticket goods surged in January, in a bit of good news for the troubled U.S. manufacturing sector. A key indicator of business investment also showed a positive sign. The Commerce Department said Thursday that new orders of durable goods – everything from aircrafts to TV sets – increased 4.9 percent … Continue reading Durable goods orders jumped 4.9 percent in January

Consumer confidence retreats to a seven-month low

By Harvard Zhang Consumer confidence dropped in February to a seven-month low as Americans — despite a growing economy — grew more concerned about business conditions, the labor market and their pocketbooks. The Conference Board’s index declined in February to 92.2 from a revised 97.8 a month earlier, the New York City-based independent research group … Continue reading Consumer confidence retreats to a seven-month low

Chicago investment returns rose $8.1 million in 2015

By Harvard Zhang The City of Chicago’s bond portfolio earnings  grew by $8.1 million, or 16.4 percent,  in 2015, the city treasurer announced Wednesday, saying that he had adopted a “responsible approach” to investing taxpayers’ dollars to maximize returns and lower the  tax burden. “We have to be prudent in investment and protect the capital meant to operate … Continue reading Chicago investment returns rose $8.1 million in 2015