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U. of I. Flash Economic Index now at highest level in eight years

J. Fred Giertz, Institute of Government and Public Affairs

Jeff Unger, News Bureau


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 Index surged ahead in January, rising to 107.1 from its 106.6 reading in December.

This marks a post-2001 recession high for the index, exceeding the 106.9 level achieved in July, September and August of 2005.

In fact, the index stands at the highest level in eight years (since January 1998 when the index also was at 107.1).

“The performance of the index suggests that Illinois avoided the slowdown of the national economy that occurred in the last quarter of 2005,” said J. Fred Giertz, the U. of I. economics professor who compiles the data. “This is good news since Illinois lost ground to the rest of the nation during and after the 2001 recession. The state now appears to be catching up.”

All three components of the index were up in real terms from the same month one year ago. Corporate tax receipts were up substantially followed by more modest gains in individual income- and sales-tax revenues.

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 Jan. 31.