The U. of I. Flash Index rose slightly in May to 106.2 from its 106.0 level in April, reversing three months of decline. The index reached its post-recession peak in January, and then declined slightly each month until May. Throughout 2014, the index has stayed above 100, the dividing line between economic growth and contraction.
Recently revised results for national Gross Domestic Product growth during the first quarter of 2014 indicate that the national economy actually declined by
1 percent during this period, which is consistent with the lower Flash Index readings the preceding months.
"As noted last month, most observers believe that this is the result of the unusually harsh winter and does not suggest a long-term decline in economic activity," said J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. "The announcement of the first quarter decline had little, if any, impact on the financial markets."
There was good news in regard to unemployment in the state with the announcement that the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent from 8.4 percent the previous month. This is a positive trend, but Illinois' unemployment rate is still well above the national average of 6.3 percent and is very high for this stage of the recovery.
Both individual income tax and sales tax receipts were up slightly in real terms from the same month last year while corporate tax receipts declined.