Local Leaders Praise PPG Sale, Future Plans

Today’s (July 18) announced sale of PPG Industries will mean substantial investment in the Central Illinois community and represents the latest in a series of noteworthy economic highlights for Decatur and Macon County.

PPG today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell substantially all the assets of its Central Illinois glass manufacturing facility to automotive glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass America Inc. Fuyao plans to rebuild and retrofit the facility’s two production lines to manufacture automotive glass, a move expected to add jobs and that represents a sizeable long-term commitment to the local community. 

Fuyao parent company Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. (FYG) is a leading international manufacturer of automotive and industrial glass with a customer base that includes GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes among others. Benefits of the sale include the local plant’s close proximity to major auto manufacturers and its significant history in automotive glass production.

Decatur City Councilman Larry Foster and a group of other local government and economic development officials met personally with leadership from PPG and Fuyao today. Councilman Foster indicated that he was excited about the purchase and especially about Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang’s stated commitment to investing in the local plant and continued support of its local employees.

“Decatur is proud to call Central Illinois home but our reach is undeniably global,” Councilman Foster said. “As most everyone knows, we have long stood as a leader in American manufacturing and are working hard to become the standard for logistics and transportation-related industries both nationally and across the globe.

“We are pleased to learn that Fuyao has chosen the Decatur community as a hub for its American glass manufacturing operations, a move that will mean jobs and the continued growth of one of the areas longest standing and most respected companies.” 

Larry Altenbaumer, President for the Economic Development Corporation for Decatur and Macon County, said Fuyao’s choosing to invest here is indicative of the region’s rising position in the global marketplace.

“This is another outstanding development for the Decatur area,” he said. “An internationally recognized industry leader, Fuyao Glass, has chosen the PPG facility here to be its North American manufacturing facility for automotive glass and will be making significant investment to retool the plant to return it to full production capacity.

“Not only will this add quality jobs to the Decatur area community, but it will also add a highly respected corporate citizen.  Moreover, this decision by Fuyao Glass adds to the growing recognition of Decatur as a perfect location for logistics, manufacturing and agri-business development.”

Altenbaumer’s was a sentiment echoed by the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce.

“The Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce has been a long partner of PPG Industries and recognize their contributions to the community over the past 55 years,” said Gretchen Murphy, Chamber Board Chairman. “The Chamber is very excited about the job growth and economic development possibilities with Fuyao Corporation and the acquisition of the Mt. Zion PPG Plant.

“The economic impact of bringing the Mt. Zion facility to full capacity is extensive for our local businesses.  We are happy to partner with Fuyao Corporation on all Chamber endeavors.”

Today’s announced sale and proposed investment in the PPG plant represents what can only be seen as a continued upturn in the local economy. According to a recent economic update from City Economic Development Officer Patrick Hoban, there has been more than $20 million in investment in Decatur since January 2014 based upon the number of building permits secured, 246 new project inquiries and 89 new retail and non-retail projects started. 

Additionally, the local unemployment rate has fallen to 9.1 percent, which is the lowest level in six years according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. This recent growth represents only a part of what is more than $200 million in community investment that has gotten underway in the last several years.

June Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.1 Percent
As Illinois Adds 6,000 Jobs

The Illinois unemployment rate fell in June for the fourth consecutive month to reach 7.1 percent while employers created 6,000 jobs, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The data is seasonally adjusted.
The combined April-June reduction of 1.3 points in the unemployment rate is the largest three-month drop since this data series began in 1976. The last time the rate was lower was October 2008 when it was 7.0 percent.
“Today’s numbers remind us that as our economy improves, more still needs to be done.” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “We need to continue to create job-training opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed so they can share in our growing economy.”
The significant drop in the unemployment rate so far this year reflects Illinois’ historical role of following the nation into and out of economic cycles. This pattern generally is expected to continue until global demand lifts Illinois’ manufacturing sector, which in turn would help housing and the construction industry.
The unemployment rate also is in line with other economic indicators. First time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and in June were 6 percent lower than one year ago. First time claims in June also were at the lowest monthly level since 2007. Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine Survey show Illinois employers in June advertised for more than 212,800 jobs (203,500 seasonally adjusted) and 86 percent sought full-time work.
Employers added +250,900 private sector jobs since job creation returned to Illinois. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+107,900, +13.8 percent); Education and Health Services (+59,100, +7.2 percent); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+44,700, +4.0 percent); and Leisure and Hospitality (+34,600, +6.8 percent). Government continues to lead job loss (-22,100, -2.6 percent.)
In June, the number of unemployed individuals fell -30,600 (-6.2 percent) to 461,700. Total unemployed has fallen -291,800 (-38.7 percent) since the rate peaked at 11.4 percent. 
The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower than the national rate only six times since January 2000. This includes periods of economic expansion and contraction.
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Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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The aerial photo of downtown Decatur at the top of this page was shot by Steve Huss.

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