Antonio Perez/TNS

Sears closing its last store in Illinois

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO — Sears is closing its Woodfield Mall store in November, leaving the iconic retailer without a single department store in Illinois, where it built its retail empire.

The retailer’s parent company plans to redevelop the property as part of a “strategy to unlock the value of the real estate and pursue the highest and best use for ...Read more


Ice cream machine at your McDonald's broken again? The feds noticed, too

Business / Business News /

You know it’s bad when ice cream machines at McDonald’s across America are broken so often they’re a punchline for late-night jokesters. (Though blaming the Hamburglar seems too easy.)

Or when a guy comes up with an actual website — — so someone jonesing for a soft-serve vanilla cone can track which nearby Mickey D’s ...Read more

Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Ford confirms plan to double F-150 Lightning production, ramp up hiring

Business / Business News /

DETROIT — A year after revealing plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the iconic Rouge Complex to build the all-electric F-150 Lightning, the automaker announced Thursday that its initial plan didn't go far enough.

Ford confirmed it will double production of the highly-anticipated 2022 Ford F-150 that will be built with a ...Read more

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/AFP/TNS

US initial jobless claims rose last week, led by Louisiana

Business / Business News /

Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose last week, led by a jump in Louisiana, as Hurricane Ida continues to throw a wrench in the labor market’s broad recovery.

Initial unemployment claims in regular state programs increased to 332,000 in the week ended Sept. 11, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a...Read more

Chris Sweda/TNS

The end of COVID-19 homeowner protections is unlikely to bring a wave of foreclosures, but some Chicago property owners could be hit harder

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO — Facing the threat of foreclosure on her home, Carla Diamantes was shaken and frustrated.

Her South Shore house is where she grew up, and has been in her family for six decades, she said. But after challenges with her mortgage servicer and upon exiting a COVID-19 program that allowed her to defer payments, she owes thousands of ...Read more

General Motors/TNS

GM tells Bolt owners to park 50 feet from other cars in parking garages, confirms 12 fires

Business / Business News /

DETROIT — As it seeks a solution to a battery fire risk, General Motors issued yet another safety recommendation Wednesday for Chevrolet Bolt owners: If you're pulling into a parking deck, keep your car at least 50 feet away from other vehicles.

A customer's concern about the safety of leaving their electric vehicle in a parking garage led ...Read more

US retail sales unexpectedly jump in sign of resilient demand

Business / Business News /

U.S. retail sales rose unexpectedly in August as a pickup in purchases across most categories more than offset weakness at auto dealers, showing resilient consumer demand for merchandise.

The value of overall retail purchases climbed 0.7% last month following a downwardly revised 1.8% decrease in July, Commerce Department figures showed ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Our condo board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. What can we do?

Business / Business News /

Q: We are selling our condo, and closing is fast approaching. Our board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. We are getting concerned because we must pack and move out, and we do not even know if our buyer will be allowed to buy our home. What can we do? — Anna

A: Selling your home can be incredibly stressful. Not only do you have to ...Read more


Carla Fried: Inflation is more reason to delay taking Social Security

Business / Business News /

The recent increase in inflation could mean retirees already receiving their Social Security benefit might see 2022 it rise by about 5%, which would be the biggest annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in more than a decade.

But the even bigger payoff from a large Social Security COLA will be for anyone at least 62 who has yet to start ...Read more

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

New materials can make Florida condos more durable. Almost no one uses them

Business / Business News /

Unlike many diseases that afflict aging humans, there are already cures for the most common, serious and expensive threat to thousands of aging buildings along Florida’s coast, a malady that structural engineers have dubbed “concrete cancer.”

The symptoms show up first as rust-stained columns or cracked balconies — tell-tale signs the ...Read more

Mark Mirko/TNS

'It's approaching a losing venture:' Hurricanes with downpours and fierce winds wrecked crops a year after Connecticut farmers struggled with drought

Business / Business News /

A wet summer that brought several tropical storms and a barrage of torrential rain to Connecticut has hit farms hard, ruining fall crops and dealing a blow to the state’s $4 billion-a-year agriculture sector.

Ida and Henri flooded about 25 acres of Rodger Phillips’ 300-acre Sub Edge Farm, leaving some places submerged 7 feet, killing ...Read more

Royal Caribbean Group/TNS

Royal Caribbean to debut world's largest cruise ship in Florida instead of China

Business / Business News /

Florida has been the first home for each of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels since Oasis of the Seas debuted in 2008, but was set to lose out to China for the fifth ship in the class, Wonder of the Seas. But the cruise line announced some changes that will bring the ship to the Sunshine State early next year.

What will inherit the title ...Read more

Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Where should I live? 9 questions with a housing economist

Business / Business News /

Our favorite housing economist — yes, we have one of those — is Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who publishes a steady stream of insightful and practical articles on topics like why getting a multi-year lease is a good idea and whom you should blame for high housing costs (spoiler alert: greedy people). We caught...Read more

Kassi Jackson/TNS

Lumber is down from the stratosphere, but still pricy for Minnesota builders and home owners

Business / Business News /

Lumber prices, a key cost in home construction and an influence on inflation, have plunged from their peaks this spring but remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

The development is welcome news to people who want to build a new home because, aside from land acquisition and labor, lumber is typically the highest component cost.

Prices on ...Read more

Michael Laughlin/TNS

South Florida is becoming the nation's worst place to rent

Business / Business News /

South Florida could become the worst place in the country for renters by the end of the year, partly because wages don’t keep up with exorbitant rent increases. a new forecast shows.

Renters here are likely to devote 40% of their income to rent by the end of the year, according to a forecast by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that ...Read more

Joe Burbank/TNS

Florida COVID 'vaccine passport' fines kick in Thursday for businesses, governments

Business / Business News /

Businesses and governments that require customers to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine will start to face hefty fines on Thursday, but some details about how the new law will work remain unclear.

The Florida Department of Health will be responsible for enforcing the $5,000 per violation charge under a law blocking so-called “vaccine ...Read more


Feds penalize UnitedHealthcare plans for underspending premiums on medical care for seniors

Business / Business News /

The federal government has imposed sanctions on three Medicare Advantage health plans run by UnitedHealthcare because the Minnetonka-based health insurer spent too small a share of premium revenue on medical benefits for seniors.

As a result, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this month that the ...Read more


Susan Tompor: You don't have to text anyone to get child tax credit from IRS

Business / Business News /

The third round of monthly advance payments for the child tax credit was scheduled to hit bank accounts Wednesday, given that it's Sept. 15.

So what better time for the scammers to text our phones with promises of big cash?

On the night of Sept. 14, I received this text: "Apply for government pandemic extra stimulus bonus of $1,400."

Of ...Read more


Tech giants used 'loopholes' to duck merger reviews, FTC says

Business / Business News /

Hundreds of deals by U.S. technology giants flew under the radar of merger watchdogs, fueling the companies’ unchecked growth in the digital economy, according to a Federal Trade Commission study.

The data on acquisitions by Apple Inc., Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Microsoft Corp. show that antitrust enforcers must be more ...Read more


Dodge ties Porsche as most appealing brand

Business / Business News /

The folks at Dodge must know what their customers like.

The Stellantis brand that makes its living off heavy horsepower Hemis led all mass market brands and tied with Porsche overall in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study being released Wednesday. The annual APEAL study is essentially a measure of brand ...Read more