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February continues yearlong stagnation of Illinois economy


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

3/3/2003

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — February marked another month with no significant change from the yearlong period of stagnation that has beset the Illinois economy.

The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index fell slightly last month to 95.6 from its January reading of 95.7. The monthly Index has remained between 94 and 97 for the last 14 months, consistently below the 100 dividing line between growth and contraction for the state economy.

"This seems to reflect the same malaise that the national economy finds itself in," said J. Fred Giertz, the Illinois economist who released the Flash reading today.

Individual income receipts were relatively strong last month, up more than 4 percent in real (inflation-adjusted) terms from the same month last year. This positive result, however, was offset by the poor performance of the sales tax, which was down 7 percent.

"This replicates the one-step-forward, one-step-back pattern that the state has been experiencing of late," Giertz said.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. Tax receipts from corporate income, personal income and retail sales 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 Feb. 28.

line chart showing level index