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Flash Economic Index for January rose slightly

Mark Reutter, Business Editor (217) 333-0568;
J. Fred Giertz, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, (217) 244-4822


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 state economy.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.  — The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index rose slightly to 102.2 in January from its 102.1 level in December.
The reading indicated positive growth for the Illinois economy, but at a slower rate than registered by most measures of national economic performance.

“In many ways, the moderate growth rate of Illinois is desirable at this stage of the business cycle when unemployment rates are at historic lows and when there is a growing concern nationally about the possible re-emergence of inflation,” said J. Fred Giertz, an economist at the UI Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who released the January figure today (Feb. 2).

Mirroring the economy as a whole, Illinois is completing its ninth year of expansion, the longest boom in history.

All three components of the Flash Index were up in “real” (inflation-adjusted) terms last month compared with January a year ago.  However, the growth rate of January 1999 was higher at 104.8 points.  In general, the state economy has been growing at a steady but slow rate since the second quarter of 1999.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income.  The growth rate in state tax receipts for each component is calculated for the 12-month period using data obtained through Jan. 31.

Any Flash reading above 100 means the state economy is expanding, while any number below 100 means the economy is contracting.