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Flash Economic Index holds steady for third straight month

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 Illinois economy.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index remained at 96.7 in August for the third straight month.

While the national economy appears to be picking up speed, the Illinois economy remains in neutral as measured by the Flash Index. "There has been a slight improvement compared with a year ago, but the state economy is still below the Index’s 100 dividing line that marks real growth," said J. Fred Giertz, the Illinois economist who released the Flash reading today.

The Index has been below the 100 mark since May 2001.

Giertz said that improvements in the national economy may not have filtered down to Illinois state tax collections, which are the key components of the Flash Index. Of the three components of the Index, individual income tax collections were up slightly last month compared with August 2002, while corporate sales taxes were down by a small amount.

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 Aug. 31.

line chart showing August Flash Index holding steady