When you think of the quintessential American city, you probably envision a city much like Peoria, Illinois. Thanks to its representative demographics and mainstream culture, Peoria has developed a reputation as the quintessential American town. In fact, the city's reputation was the impetus for the expression, "Will it play in Peoria?," which questions whether a product, person or campaign will appeal to "Main Street" America.
Home to 116,513 people, Peoria is southwest of Chicago, about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis. The city is replete with historic sites on the National Register of Historic Places, such as the West Bluff Historic Districts and Pere Marquette Hotel. Notable higher educational institutions in Peoria include Bradley University, the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Peoria, and Midstate College.
Peoria offers an incredibly inexpensive cost of living that is 12.4 percent below the national average. The median household income is $54,963, and the median home price is $110,600. Last year the household income in Peoria increased by 1 percent, while the price of homes declined 13.1 percent.
Peoria Job Opportunities
Agriculture, technology and health care are the largest drivers of Peoria, IL jobs. The city is well-known as the headquarters for Caterpillar, Inc. and the heavy equipment industry in general. Caterpillar is the largest employer of Peoria jobs, with over 15,000 employees. The next largest is Advanced Technology Services, with over 1,500 employees in the area and 3,000 worldwide.
The third and fourth largest employers for Peoria jobs are both in the health care industry. Both UnityPoint Health Methodist and OSF St. Francis Medical Center employ more than 1,500 people in a variety of health care jobs in Peoria. Both the Peoria Public Schools and Walmart also account for about 1,500 jobs in Peoria, IL.
Peoria Employment Trends
Peoria's unemployment rate is relatively high; it hit 8.9 percent in July of 2014, which is higher than the 6.1 percent national average and the 6.8 percent Illinois average. Last year, Peoria experienced negative job growth of 2.5 percent but is predicted to see a positive growth of 1.1 percent for jobs in Peoria this year. In spite of negative employment growth in 2013, household income still grew by one percent.
Due to Peoria's high unemployment rate, job seekers may consider also searching for jobs in surrounding cities with better employment prospects. For instance, jobs in Bloomington, IL may be easier to find due to its 6.7 percent unemployment rate.