CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index increased marginally in March to 95.8 from 95.6 in February.
Still the Illinois economy remains stalled in a no-growth pattern, much like its position during the past 15 months. Since January 2002, the monthly Index readings have ranged from 97 to 94.2 - consistently below the 100 dividing line between economic growth and contraction.
"The start of the war in Iraq has had little impact on the Index, but its effects may be felt soon, either positive or negative," said J. Fred Giertz, the Illinois economist who released the Flash Index today.
Corporate tax receipts were the strongest component of the Index last month, but sales-tax receipts were flat and individual income-tax collections were down significantly. "This signals no relief for the state's continuing fiscal problems," Giertz said.
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 March 31.