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Flash Index of Illinois Economy rises to highest level in six years

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.

J. Fred Giertz, Institute of Government and Public Affairs

Mark Reutter, Business & Law Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index registered strong growth last month, increasing to 104.2 from its 103.4 level in February. This is the highest level recorded since March 1999, or six years ago, when the Index stood at 104.3.

“The March results clearly indicate that the Illinois economy is on the move again,” said J. Fred Giertz, the University of Illinois economist who compiles the data. “This is especially good news because Illinois has experienced slow growth over the last four years.”

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released per capita income figures showing that Illinois was among the bottom 20 percent of states in terms of economic growth in 2004. Since 2000, per capita income in the state has dropped from 108 percent of the national average to 104 percent.

For March, all three components of the Flash Index performed well, with the corporate- and individual income-tax receipts especially strong.

The 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 March 31.

line chart showing upward trend of economic growth