By DAVID MERCERCHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) â¿¿ State Farm Insurance Co. says it isn't moving its headquarters from Illinois despite recent media reports that the Illinois-based company is adding major office space in Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix. News reports last week in Dallas and Atlanta about large amounts of office space State Farm is getting ready to occupy in those cities led to media speculation and questions from Illinois politicians about the company's plans. The offices of both Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn said they got in touch with State Farm about the company's plans. State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson confirmed that the company is adding to existing office space in those three cities. But State Farm's headquarters is staying put, she said. State Farm employs about 15,000 people in Bloomington, Ill. and is one of the state's largest private employers. "Our headquarters are remaining in Bloomington â¿¿ they are here and they will be here," she said. A Durbin spokeswoman said the company offered similar assurances to the Democratic senator's staff. "We were in touch with the company last week," Durbin spokeswoman Christina Mulka said by email. "They informed us that State Farm's headquarters will remain in Bloomington." The company, though, won't say how many workers will work in the new locations in Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix, or whether those will be new hires, employees moved from Bloomington or other cities, or a mix of the two. "We have always reviewed our facilities regularly and we're looking to continue to do that, making sure our employees are in the right places," Anderson said. "A lot of things are still in flux and we're still looking at how we can best meet our customers' expectations." State Farm is the largest employer in the Bloomington-Normal area and a key reason the unemployment rate there is usually among the lowest in the state. The local unemployment rate for December, the most recent month available, was 6.3 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The statewide average was 8.6 percent.
Bloomington City Manager David Hales said he wasn't nervous about the speculation that State Farm might have a move in mind â¿¿ several local elected officials are current and past State Farm employees and the city is in regular contact with the company. But he said he can't afford to take for granted that State Farm will just stay put."Not in this age of constant change," he said. ___ Follow David Mercer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidmercerap