CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index continued to climb last month, rising to 106.5 from its 105.9 level in May.
The state economy has performed extremely well over the last year, especially in the first six months of 2005. A year ago last June, the Flash Index was at 100.3. It rose to 103 in December and has marched steadily to the 106.5 reading in June. The dividing line between economic expansion and contraction is 100.
Illinois came out of the 2001 recession very slowly compared to the rest of the country, but now appears to be catching up, according to J. Fred Giertz, the Illinois economist who released today's Flash results.
"This catch-up is confirmed by job growth data in Illinois," Giertz said. "For the first time since 1997, employment growth in Illinois has exceeded the national rate of growth for three consecutive months."
Illinois, however, has not fully caught up - the unemployment rate in May was 5.8 percent, compared to the 5.1 percent national average.
Corporate-tax receipts, which have driven the Index's growth in the last 12 months, were up again last month. Individual income-tax receipts increased modestly, while sales-tax receipts dropped marginally.
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 June 30.