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UI Flash Economic Index records continued sluggishness

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.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois economy continued it sluggish performance in June. The University of Illinois Flash Index again was below the 100 mark, indicating that the Illinois economy is stagnant.

The Flash Index fell to 98.4 in June, down from 98.9 in May and 99.7 in March, the first sub-100 reading in nearly a decade. A year ago in June, the Index was 102.7.

"Similar to last month, all components of the Index declined in real
(inflation-adjusted) terms," said J. Fred Giertz, a UI economist who released the Flash Index today (July 2). "Corporate-tax receipts were very weak, declining substantially compared to the same month last year. Sales-tax receipts were also slow, while
income-tax receipts were down only slightly."

An Index reading over 100 means that the state economy is expanding, while a number below 100 indicates that the economy is contracting.

Although the Index has declined steadily in recent months (with the exception of a
one-month uptick in April), "we are still not in a recession, which is defined as two quarters of negative growth," Giertz said. "Most forecasters expect slow growth to occur in the second half of 2001."

The Illinois unemployment rate at 5.2 percent is about 1 point higher than a year ago, but is still very low by historical standards.

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 June 30.