Midwest Memo: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chrysler's car sales were up in April, as were Ford's and GM's. Photo by Ricardo Giaviti via Flickr.

Auto companies presented their sales numbers for April yesterday. Chrysler, Ford, and GM all saw an increase in sales, mostly in smaller, fuel efficient cars thanks to rising gas prices.

In yesterday’s Midwest Memo we shared that Michigan had set a new record for gas prices. Now, so has Chicago. The average cost for gasoline in the Windy City is at an all-time high of $4.44 per gallon. Ouch.

For Chrysler, that ad featuring Eminem during this year’s Super Bowl just may have worked. Chrysler dealerships are reporting that they’re running out of cars on the lot as young male buyers, in particular, flock to cars they wouldn’t have considered in the past. But analysts say Chrysler, which still relies heavily on Jeeps and minivans, will have to work hard to battle rising gas prices.

Yesterday was Election Day in several Midwest states. You can catch up on Michigan results here.  You can also find a roundup of Indiana results here.  Voters turned out in strong numbers in the East Chicago and Gary neighborhoods for several key mayoral and city council races.  In Ohio, many primary winners will have an easy time of it in the General Elections.  Many Ohio schools that put levy increases on the ballot didn’t see success.

The next leader of Chicago Public Schools was a guest on WBEZ’s Eight Forty-Eight today. He said his goals include extending school days and making sure teachers are judged on merit, but his main concern is graduating stuents from high school and preparing them for college.

A late Easter contributed to a spike in retails sales this spring. Photo by David Hoffman via Flickr.

How much of an economic stimulus does a local team’s success bring? In Chicago, the Bulls have the best record in the league, and part of that can translate into dollars flowing into the local economy.

Most of Ohio’s $7.7 billion budget gap will be filled through cuts to state programs like libraries and social services. But some Republican lawmakers say that’s not enough, and there’s always more that can be cut from government.

This year’s late Easter was good for the economy, according to new figures from MastercCard Inc., though a weak housing market and rising gas prices continue to limit spending.

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