Medill Reports: Business
Top Stories


The Opacity of Emanuel’s Infrastructure Bank Isn't Clear

by Aimee Keane

  Mike Archey should be Rahm Emanuel’s best friend. Yet despite Archey’s persistent phone calls and e-mails to the trust’s staff this past spring, he can’t seem to engage the trust in the kind of idea exchange he thinks could lead to a lucrative opportunity for both the city and private sector.  

Healthcare Innovation Making Strides in Chicago

by Abby Sun

From electronic medical records to robotic surgery, healthcare innovation is paving the way for gradual and consistent change in the medical industry. By providing more financial and informational help to entrepreneurs, the City of Chicago is taking a series of steps to catch up with the high-tech movement in this field.  

Congress may be feeding the tax inversion beast

by Osahon Okundaye

Calls by regulators to close the inversion loophole have actually driven companies to relocate overseas before they miss out on the savings.

Chocolatiers look for niche markets amid competition

by Eman Shurbaji

Eman Shurbaji 2014-08-26 It’s an industry once ruled by chocolate bars in the checkout line, Mars candy for children and Fannie May for celebratory occasions.       But as specialty food industries evolved to meet growing consumer demands for quality and unique products, chocolatiers took hee

Chicago to turn around electric vehicle statistics

 The rise of the electric vehicle has gotten off to a slow start in Chicago, but the city is trying to turn around the numbers.

BLS report gives new argument to minimum wage advocates

by Kerry Cardoza

A July 18 report by the Bureau of Labor statistics shows that the 13 states that raised their minimum wage this year have added jobs at a faster pace than states that did not. While economists caution that there are many factors that can cause employment to rise, this new data gives advocates a fresh argument for a wage increase.

Patrick Whitty left DC to help write clean energy’s next chapter

by Matt McKinney

Patrick Whitty, program director of the Illinois Clean Energy Trust, is helping clean energy start-ups move from idea to reality.

Greg Harris's marriage equality law may help spur local economy

by Kerry Cardoza

State Rep. Greg Harris, chief House sponsor of the Illinois marriage equality law, is modest about the months he spent gathering support for the controversial bill, which at times ignited ire from both conservatives and liberals.


Toronto native takes on online eye exam platform in Chicago

by Abby Sun

Steven Lee knew that his online eye exam company's revolutionary approach to ophthalmology would draw criticism from the public, especially fierce opposition from traditional office-based optometrists. 

Chicago SEC chief easing into new role

by Osahon Okundaye

David Glockner parses his words mindfully, taking care not to spill a drop of language, as if his lifetime reserve were about to be tapped. And after nearly nine months as the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Chicago office, maybe that’s a good thing. His words really matter.

Andrew Johnston, Helping Texas Usher in a Fuel Independent Era

by Kristin April Kim

 Andrew Johnston leads the Central Texas Fuel Independence Project, bringing grid, gas and transportation regulators, the auto industry, government and academia together to create a model for the rest of the country to follow.

A Diamond in the Rough

by Eman Shurbaji

  How one Evanston businesswoman re-established her brand while sticking to a vision

Clean Energy's Rising Star

by Aimee Keane

When Chicago-born Claire Tramm was in the second grade, she had the concept of sustainability figured out. Now straddling two jobs in the public and private sector, Tramm has created an attractive energy finance model that is planning for the future.    

Google Glass Ban

Wearable Technology: The next big thing or privacy nightmare?

by Gordy Stillman

The wearable market, from face-mounted computers like Google Glass to high-tech clothing that measures heart rate or monitors sun exposure, is expected to grow exponentially. But wearable technology is raising new privacy concerns.


Chicago steps up efforts to attract international, especially Chinese, tourists

by Rose Zhou

Chicago may already be a lure for U.S. vacationers, but to foreign travelers, the Windy City is not on top of their itinerary. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago is working with international travel agents and expanding efforts in China to raise the city's profile.

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Local and national businesses battle for same-day delivery supremacy

by Shelby Livingston

We Deliver, a Chicago delivery start-up, is making quick-delivery work on a local scale. E-commerce and retail giants like Amazon Inc., Google Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and eBay Inc. are fighting to do the same nationwide, with everything from delivery drones to dedicated delivery fleets. But who can make it work?


Banks' monopoly may be ending as Google, Facebook enter payments market

by Lingjiao Mo

Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are edging into financial services with digital innovations in money transfer and payments, making inroads in a market that’s grown $1 billion and is expected to grow another 20-fold to nearly $60 billion in mobile transactions by 2017.


Despite higher interest rates, mortgage application rise

by Paulo Cabral Filho

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the number of mortgage applications increased 10.3 percent in the week ended on June 6, when compared with the previous week, due to an increase in both purchase and refinancing applications. The previous week’s results were adjusted for the Memorial Day Holiday.


MB Financial foresees resumption of earnings growth

by Osahon Okundaye

MB Financial Inc. looks to ride its aggressive acquisitions of smaller regional rivals to continued steady earnings growth, after a hiccup from its latest planned purchase. Analysts are cautiously optimistic.


Young TV viewers bypass cable

by Aimee Keane

While cable television providers worry about current subscribers threatening to “cut the cord” on service, the real threat to business might be those who have never signed up.

Chicago water doesn't satisfy all tastes

by Eman Shurbaji

 A small, informal survey of pedestrians at Clark and Adams in the Loop found that most don't drink water straight from the tap, instead filtering it or purchasing bottled water.


Fourth quarter helps H&R Block yearly results to stay positive

by Paulo Cabral Filho

With results better than expected by analysts, H&R Block Inc. reported an increase of 36 percent in its fourth quarter profit, due mainly to improved return mix and pricing strategy changes in its retail locations, digital tax software product enhancement, and increased revenues from certain financial products.


Ulta profits are beautiful

by Eman Shurbaji

Ulta first quarter profits soared 19 percent, as the company attracted online sales and prudently managed swelling inventories.


Banking on it: Neighborhoods hit by foreclosure look to Cook County Land Bank

by Robin Amer

Cook County's new land bank is supposed to bring relief to neighborhoods ravaged by the foreclosure crisis. But with more than 51,000 distressed properties to tackle, where does it even begin?

Millennials lead trend in less car-ownership, driving

by Kerry Cardoza

Miles driven in America have stagnated since 2004, according to a 2013 study by U.S. PIRG, a consumer group. While all Americans are driving less, the change is primarily caused by young people, of which millennials (those born after 1981) are now the largest demographic.  


Job openings greatest in almost 7 years

by Paulo Cabral Filho

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday that the number of job openings on the last business day of April reached 4.5 million, or 3.1 percent of total employment, up from 4.2 million, or 2.9 percent, in March.

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RadioShack Caves to Retail Pressure

by Eman Shurbaji

RadioShack shares fell more than 10% Wednesday on widened losses by the Fort Worth, Texas-based consumer electronics retailer. They company cited intensified competition in the market for mobile phones.

Half Acre Beer to expand after reaching capacity

by Paulo Cabral Filho

Sitting in the heart of Ravenswood, at 4257 Lincoln Ave., among other bars and stores, 7-year-old Half Acre Beer Co. is well-known and confident enough to expand. In fact, it has to if it wants to grow.

In search of the perfect cup

by Aimee Keane

Lincoln Park coffee bar CityGrounds serves up an education with every cup of espresso.


Truck and engine maker Navistar narrows losses in Q2

by Aimee Keane

Second quarter losses for Navistar International Corp. narrowed from the prior-year quarter, yet managed to reach levels twice as high as analysts’ estimate.


Drivers switch gears from car ownership to sharing

by Cat Boardman

Worldwide car sharing membership is projected to grow to 26 million by 2020 from 2.3 million last year, according to market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Others predict more conservative, but still rapid, growth of more than 12 million members by 2020. While this is good news for car-sharing companies, it suggests that fewer people will be purchasing vehicles.

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Initial claims rise slightly while underlying trend shows improving job market

by Kerry Cardoza

Initial jobless claims rose Thursday to 312,000, according to a government report, yet the four-week moving average is at its lowest level since June 2007.

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Bi-nation committee fishes for Asian carp plan

by Kerry Cardoza and Osahon Okundaye

The Great Lakes Executive Committee, in its biannual meeting Wednesday in Chicago, acknowledged the need for an action plan to enhance its response to Asian carp and other invasive species.


Where 3D carving tops 3D printing

by Abby Sun

Abby Sun 2014-06-05   While the exotic technology called 3D printing has received lots of buzz recently, in fact its cousin 3D carving is becoming more important to small businesses seeking to minimize production costs, and to some hobbyists as well.   Here's the difference: 3D printing is an " a

Potbelly struggling, despite growth

by Eman Shurbaji

Potbelly may be opening more stores, but the sandwich company is facing plunging stock prices.