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Illinois Flash Economic Index declines slightly last month

Mark Reutter, Business Editor
(217) 333-0568; mreutter@illinois.edu

8/1/
2000

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 declined slightly for the month of July to 102.6 from its 102.8 level in June.

Even though the Illinois economy continues to grow, the rate of expansion has tapered off from its recent high of 103.2 in May and April. A year ago in July, the Flash Index was roughly the same at 103.0.

The Flash reading indicates that the state economy is growing moderately, which is "not necessarily bad because the economy remains near capacity with very low unemployment rates and subdued price pressures," said J. Fred Giertz, a UI economists who released the Flash reading today (Aug. 1).

The Index also suggests a moderating trend for the national economy, which had a surprising burst of expansion (5.2 percent) in the second quarter ending June 30, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Commerce Department.

As was the case in June, consumer spending in Illinois was strong in July, but corporate tax receipts lagged behind, dragging down the overall Index.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in sales tax receipts, individual income tax receipts, and corporate earning receipts in Illinois. 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 July 31. Any reading above 100 means the state economy is expanding, while any number below 100 means the economy is shrinking.