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U. of I. economic index fell in February, but economy still growing

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 U of I Flash Index fell in February to 106.6 from its 107.1 reading in January.

“Despite the decline, the result for February still indicates that the Illinois economy is growing at a good clip,” said J. Fred Giertz, the U. of I. economist who compiles the monthly index. “Last month’s result was the highest in eight years. While lower, the current reading remains in strong positive territory.”

A reading of 100 is the dividing line between growth and decline.

Sales-tax receipts were strong for the month, up 13 percent in real terms compared with the same month last year.

Income-tax receipts were down slightly while corporate-tax receipts were considerably below February of last year. February, however, is considered a very light month for corporate receipts; thus, a small absolute change can have a large percentage impact on the results.

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.