Economy & Business news


After four difficult years, earnings rose for Caterpillar in 2017. Thursday, the company reported fourth quarter and full year results.

Unemployment  dropped sharply in December, falling from 5.3 per cent a year ago to 4.2 per cent last month. / Toys R Us Facebook header

Starting next month, Toys R Us will close 180 stores, but locations in the Quad Cities are not on the list. Stiff competition from Amazon and Walmart have squeezed Toys R Us, which once dominated toy sales in the US. The retailer filed for bankruptcy in September and is $5 billion in debt.

The company operates a Toys R Us and Babies R Us store on Brady Street in Davenport, plus a Toys R Us near South Park Mall in Moline. In Iowa, stores in Des Moines and Clive are on the closure list. And in Illinois, the company will close eight in the Chicago area.

Chuck Henson

Work will begin soon to protect a major tourist attraction in northern Illinois. Following a meeting this month of local and state officials, a steering committee will soon be appointed for the Hennepin Canal.

Sam's Club

Sam's Club in Moline will close later this month, putting about 150 people out of work. It's one of 63 stores across the country Walmart Stores plans to close this month.

Arconic plans to freeze pension plan contributions for U.S. workers, and instead make contributions to a 401(k) plan for employees.

The company says the freeze only applies to the accrual of benefits for about 7,900 salaried employees plus hourly employees who are not members of a union. Retirees who are already collecting benefits will NOT be affected.

Unemployment continued to fall last month in the Quad Cities. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says our rate went from 4.8 per cent a year ago, to 3.9 per cent in November.

Michelle ONeill / WVIK News

Truckers, owners, operators, police, and safety experts all want Congress to regulate self-driving cars and trucks before they hit the road in large numbers. Especially worrisome is the safety and security of autonomous big rigs like semi-tractor-trailers.

In the second of two features, Michelle O'Neill reports truck drivers may think the technology will eliminate their jobs, but others say just the opposite.


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will travel to northwestern Illinois Tuesday to celebrate an anniversary. One year ago, he signed the Future Energy Jobs Act which helped convince Exelon to keep open nuclear power plants in Cordova, near the Quad Cities, and Clinton in central Illinois.


After recently setting records, passenger traffic has been falling this year at the Quad City Airport. And it's "fighting back" with an advertising campaign and a trip calculator.