The Park Place Economist


The success and growth of local businesses is clearly a pivotal element of the Bloomington-Normal community. This study, then, will examine the impact of a current shock to the local economy focused on McLean County’s largest employer: State Farm Insurance. In October 2013, State Farm announced plans to relocate an unspecified fraction of the 1,600 positions it maintains in its Illinois Claims Operations Center to a new hub in either Dallas, Atlanta, or Phoenix (Hansen, 2013). It has since been confirmed that the workers will relocate to Atlanta, Georgia. Economists and community leaders as well as State Farm employees have expressed concern about the economic implications of the relocation organized by the biggest employer of McLean County. In this economic letter, Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) software will be used to project the direct, indirect, and induced effects of this loss of employment. To provide context, these effects will be compared to estimations based on a cut of similar magnitude suffered by the Mitsubishi plant in 2004. Mitsubishi serves as the point of comparison as a major employer in the community –the third largest at the time of the cut.