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UI Flash Economic Index rebounds in April

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

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


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.

After a month below the 100 mark, the University of Illinois Flash Economic Index rebounded in April, indicating positive growth for the Illinois economy.

The April reading of 101.3 was a sharp rise from the 99.7 level in March. "It is too early to label the April results as a turnaround," said J. Fred Giertz, a UI economist who released the Flash Index today (May 1).

But Giertz said the reading did indicate that the economy was not in a recession (as officially defined by two quarters of negative growth), but rather in a period of slow growth similar to the pace of the second half of 2000. A year ago in April, the Flash Index stood at 103.2.

"The results over the next few months will answer the question of whether the economy has made a soft landing and avoided the much-talked-about recession that has, in fact, not yet happened," Giertz said.

The engine of growth in the Flash Index last month was individual income-tax receipts. The state of Illinois registered the first $1 billion month in individual income-tax collections in its history. Corporate profits were also up in "real" (inflation-adjusted) terms.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in sales-tax receipts, individual income-tax receipts and corporate earnings in Illinois. The growth rate for each component is then calculated for the 12-month period using data through April 30.