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Flash Economic Index registers highest monthly level in a year

(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.)

Mark Reutter, Business & Law Editor
(217) 333-0568;

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


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Continuing its slow rise since the last quarter of 1999, the University of Illinois Flash Economic Index registered its highest monthly level in a year.

The April reading of 103.2 -- up from 102.9 in March and 101.8 last October, its recent low point -- suggests that the state economy is on a steady course of moderate expansion, which places it somewhat at odds with the U.S. economy.

"Illinois appears to be growing less rapidly than the national economy, which is most likely good rather than bad news for the state," said J. Fred Giertz, an economist at the UI Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who released the April Flash reading today (May 2). "The national economy has recorded some very high -- and likely unsustainable -- rates recently. Coupled with recent indications of inflation, there is concern that the national economy may be overheating."

The Illinois economy had a higher growth rate than April a year ago (101.9) and was tied with the same (103.2) reading of May 1999.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in consumer spending, personal income and corporate earnings. Tax receipts 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 April 30.

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