The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 16, 2019 1:00 am


Region lags behind in income rise

Staff, news services

Per capita personal income in northeast Indiana's 11 counties continues to grow at a faster rate over recent years, but in 2018 the area lags the nation.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the initial 2018 per capita income numbers. Northeast Indiana grew at 4.73% compared with the nation's rate of 4.94% from 2017 to 2018, according to a news release Friday from local officials. The northeast Indiana growth rate represents nearly 40% increase over the 3.38% growth in 2017. The 2018 growth equates to 82.2% of the national average, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership news release said.

The percentage increase led to more than $35 billion of total personal income circulating in the region's 11 counties in 2018. That was an increase of nearly $1.8 billion of total personal income compared to 2017, resulting in a $2,021 increase in per capita personal income.

The Regional Partnership has established a goal to increase northeast Indiana's PCPI to 90% of the national average by 2030.

Sears parent lays off workers at HQ

The parent company of Sears and Kmart has laid off more employees at its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters, a week after announcing plans to close about a third of the retailer's remaining stores. The layoffs, which reportedly affected hundreds of employees, first were reported by Business Insider. The latest job cuts come just two months after a round of layoffs affecting about 250 workers.

A source with knowledge of the situation said fewer than 300 employees working at the company's headquarters and other field offices were affected and had already been notified.

Transformco, which bought Sears and Kmart out of bankruptcy earlier this year, declined to say how many people remain employed in Hoffman Estates. Transformco is controlled by Sears' former CEO Edward Lampert and his hedge fund.

Penney stock up on raised outlook

J.C. Penney Co. shares surged after the company raised its profit forecast, even amid another quarterly sales decline, as the battered department store chain's turnaround plan gains more time to play out.

Excluding some items, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will exceed $475 million this year, up from a previous forecast of between $440 million and $475 million. The chain also posted a drop in inventory in the third quarter, a sign its struggles with buildups of unpopular merchandise are easing.

J.C. Penney's report shows it's making progress in improving its operations, and that cheered investors. “We are beginning to see results – both in our numbers and how we operate as a business,” Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau said in a statement.

Still, same-store sales, a key retail metric, fell 9.3% last quarter.

Opioid settlement lowered by judge

An Oklahoma judge who last summer ordered consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million to help address the state's opioid crisis is reducing that amount by $107 million in his final order in the case.

District Judge Thad Balkman on Friday issued the order directing the company to pay the state $465 million, acknowledging that he miscalculated in his original award how much it would cost to develop a program for treating babies born addicted to opioids.

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