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Flash Index of Illinois economy rises to highest level in nearly four years

J. Fred Giertz, Institute of Government and Public Affairs
217-244-4822

10/4/2004

EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: The Flash Index of Economic Growth, produced by economists at the University of Illinois, is based on the most up-to-date information on the Illinois economy.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index continued its strong performance in September, rising to 102.2 compared with 100.5 in August. This is the highest level since October 2000, a period of almost four years.

“September appears to be a breakout month,” said J. Fred Giertz, the University of Illinois economist who released the Flash data today (Oct. 4).

“Illinois has been lagging compared with the rest of the nation in the recovery from the 2001 recession. September’s performance suggests that Illinois may now be catching up. But the usual caveat is in order: One unusually good (or bad) month does not establish a trend. It will be important to see if October’s results confirm this month’s Index.”

A year ago in September, the Flash Index stood at 96.2, far below the 100
break-even mark between economic growth and contraction.

All three components of the Index (receipts from individual income tax, corporate tax and sales tax) registered strong growth last month. Corporate tax receipts were especially strong, Giertz reported.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. Tax receipts from corporate income, personal income and retail sales are adjusted for inflation before growth rates are calculated. The growth rate for each component is then calculated for the 12-month period using data through Sept. 30.

line chart showing Flash Index at highest level in four years