Axios Chicago

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🍿 Happy Thursday! Today is "National Classic Movie" Day. That used to mean "Singin' in the Rain" or "Casablanca." Now it means "Fargo" or "Legally Blonde 2."

Today's newsletter is 911 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Chicago teens not working

Lifeguarding along Lake Michigan has long been a go-to summer job for Chicago teens. Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Black Chicago teenagers are experiencing higher jobless rates and slower recovery from the pandemic, a new study reports.

Why it matters: The youth employment study paints a bleak picture of Chicago's inequalities.

  • Not having jobs can turn kids to other pursuits, including gang activities and street violence.

By the numbers: The report, written by University of Illinois Chicago Great Cities Institute and commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network, shows that the city's jobless rate for Black teens is worse than the national average.

  • In 2022, the jobless rate for Black 16- to 19-year-olds living in Chicago was 86% — more than 16% higher than the national average for that same demographic.
  • To compare, white Chicago teens had a jobless rate of 76%, which is 16% higher than the national average for white teens.
  • The rate in some Black neighborhoods was as high as 92%.

Stunning stat: The jobless rate gap between teens on the city's South and West sides, which are predominantly Black neighborhoods, and teens in suburbs like Schaumburg was stark, up to a 40% difference.

  • If you factor in 20-to 24-year-olds, Illinois had 163,081 out-of-school and jobless young adults in 2022, which is about the equivalent of the population of Joliet. Some 45,000 of those were in Chicago alone.

Between the lines: Youth jobs have long been seen as a deterrent for gun violence. In 2017, a study showed a 43% drop in violent crime arrests among teens who participated in Chicago's summer job program.

Yes, but: Since then, the number of 17-and-under homicide victims has risen, including a spate of several killings last fall.

Caveat: This study looks at data from 2021 and 2022, before Brandon Johnson, who has prioritized finding opportunities for teens, was elected mayor.

What's next: This year, the city has expanded One Chicago Summer to offer jobs to 28,000 city teens.

2. Closing time: Businesses shuttered in April/May

Red Lobster has considered filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and 87 locations abruptly closed their doors, including two in Illinois. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Chicago has seen many businesses shutter so far this year, as labor and other costs remain high and consumer habits change.

Why it matters: Many of these spots carry memories and meaning for our communities, while providing jobs.

Here are some of the closings announced in April and May:

The biggest impact: The sudden implosion of Foxtrot and Dom's. The two boutique grocers merged in 2023 but, just months later, closed all 17 stores in our area.

Nostalgia pick: The Scottish pub Duke of Perth had been a mainstay near Diversey and Clark for 35 years, serving up fish and chips and bangers and mash. It abruptly closed, but it isn't going out of business. The pub is moving around the corner into the old Renaldi's Pizza location on Broadway.

  • Also, Spoon Thai in Lincoln Square shuttered in April after the landlord allegedly didn't renew its lease. The popular Thai restaurant had been on Western Avenue since 2003.

No, not the cheddar biscuits! This week, Red Lobster announced more nationwide closings, including two in Illinois. The closest to Chicago is in Bloomingdale.

Other notable closings include En Hakkore in Bucktown, Casati's in Lincoln Park, Testaccio and Don Bucio's in Logan Square, Ørkenoy Brewery in Humboldt Park and Lunchbox in Edgewater, which had a fire in the kitchen the night before the scheduled opening. They vow to reopen.

Read more 2024 closings

3. Tips and hot links: London calling da Bears

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London before the Bears-Raiders game in 2019. Photo: Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

🏟 The NFL's 2024-25 schedule was released last night. The Bears will play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, the Lions on Thanksgiving, and the Vikings on Monday Night Football. (Tribune)

🚷 Mayor Brandon Johnson approved the Clark Street outdoor dining program for this summer, but the street will remain open for traffic. (Block Club)

⚕️ Meningococcal disease is on the rise in Chicago, the city health department warns. (NBC 5)

🏀 Angel Reese scored 12 points in her Sky debut, but the team lost to the Wings in their opener, 87-79. (CBS 2)

4. What to expect at Wayfair store in Wilmette

Inside the new Wayfair store in Wilmette. Photo: Moyo Adeolu/Axios

Wayfair's first brick-and-mortar store is opening next week at Edens Plaza in Wilmette, and we got a preview.

Why it matters: The Boston-based online furniture retailer moving into a physical space is a sign that shoppers want to have a complete experience rather than buy everything online.

  • The store is occupying the former Carson Pirie Scott building and could help revamp the shopping mall.

What to expect: The 150,000-square-foot, two-floor store features vignettes of every room in the house, separated by style, such as modern, glam and Bohemian.

  • There's also a cafe with coffee, salads and other bites.
A row of faucets under a sign reading "Find your faucet"
A "faucet bar" at Wayfair. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

The vibe: Wayfair is leaning into its "Welcome to the Wayborhood" slogan and features touches of Chicago — from an exterior mural to framed art of Michigan Avenue and other local icons throughout the store.

A rainbow burst wall behind bunk beds, a desk, yellow chair and rainbow burst rug.
A sample kids room. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Between the lines: Wayfair reps say they aren't trying to compete directly with Chicago-based Crate & Barrel and CB2, but they're exploring features those stores offer, including wedding registries.

What's next: Wayfair opens May 23 with a block party featuring games and giveaways.

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5. About last night: Axios at The Hideout

The crowd watches the Axios Office Hours event last night. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

🙏 Thank you to all who came out to The Hideout last night for our Axios Office Hours event!

  • It was great to talk to so many readers face to face. Did anyone try the deep-fried cicadas?

We can't wait for the next event, which will be sometime this summer.

Edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Aurora Martínez.

🏖 Carrie needs a vacay and wants YOUR ideas for a quick Memorial Day weekend getaway.

🎧 Monica loved learning why Chicago is famous in India for a speech given here 130 years ago by Swami Vivekananda. Nice "Curious City" episode, Jessica Pupuvac!

✈️ Justin is already excited about the Bears schedule. Who wants to travel to Phoenix on Nov. 3? Feels like a no-brainer.

Want more Axios Chicago content? Check out our Instagram for extra stuff to do, behind the scenes photos, videos and more.