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Illinois economy expands sharply in September

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

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

10/3/2000

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. - Despite all the talk of a slowdown, the Illinois economy expanded sharply in September, registering the highest single-month gain in almost two years, according to the University of Illinois Flash Economic Index.

The September reading was 103.6, up 1.3 from August. This was the first increase in growth in six months and the best point gain since May 1999. The Index was 102.5 in September 1999 and 103.7 in September 1998.

"One month's results do not necessarily mean the end to the gradual slowdown that has been observed both in the state and nationally over recent months," said J. Fred Giertz, a UI economist who released the Flash reading today (Oct. 3).

"Nevertheless, the September reading does suggest that the Illinois economy is strong despite the spike in gasoline and oil prices."

Corporate receipts led the way with unexpected robust growth last month, ending a period of relative weakness stretching over six months. Consumer spending and personal income also were up in inflation-adjusted terms compared with the same month a year ago.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in sales-tax receipts, individual income-tax receipts and corporate-earning receipts in Illinois. The 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 Sept. 30. Any reading above 100 means the state economy is expanding, while any number below 100 indicates the economy is shrinking.