The largest city on the Illinois River and one of the oldest settlements in Illinois, Peoria is home to the world headquarters of Caterpillar, Inc.
And recent news illustrates that that will be a problem for the city as the company recently announced that it would cut 5,000 jobs from its salaried and management workforce and additional layoffs would be expected. With equipment orders shrinking, the 90-year-old company expects 2016 to be the fourth straight year with decreasing revenue.
That makes the Peoria Promise much more important to affected families. But the downtown area remains home to corporate, governmental, convention, educational and medical facilities. The healthcare industry makes up 25 percent of Peoria’s economy as the city is home to three hospitals as well as the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, where the mass production of penicillin was developed.
Peoria has long been seen as a typical American city and, in the 20th century, new live acts would visit Peoria to test audience response, hence the famed question: “Will it play in Peoria?” The River City — the hometown of comic genius Richard Pryor — earned its fourth All-America City Award in 2013.