Economic Policy

Exploration of the intersection of policy and economic trends, public finance, and economic development

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IGPA Experts use cutting edge social science research methods to analyze public policy. Our independent evidence and analysis is non-partisan, data-driven, and based in the best academic scholarship available.
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Flash Index: July 2016

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The University of Illinois Flash Index fell to 104.7 in July from its 105.0 level in June. This indicates that the state’s rate of economic growth is slowing. The slow-down aligns with concern about the national economy.


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Does global climate change affect air pollution in Illinois?

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This policy brief provides an overview of research on climate change and air pollution, and it discusses the implications for Illinois. The researchers first describe the effects of pollution and then look at trends in Illinois relative to the whole United States. They then describe estimates of the effects of climate change on local pollution, and the effects of pollution on health.


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Related News

Flash Index: January 2016

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The Flash Index fell again in January to 105.3 from its 105.5 level in December. As was the case last month, this is the lowest reading since March 2013 (104.7). This slowdown is consistent with data showing a national slowing economy.


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Flash Index: February 2016

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Illinois’ economy continues to grow at a modest rate despite a slight uptick in the unemployment rate, according to the University of Illinois Flash Index.

The Index rose to 105.6 in February, up three-tenths of a point from the previous month, and well above the 100 level that marks the division between growth and decline. The slight rise reverses a two-month trend of lower readings since the index reached 106.1 in November 2015.


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Flash Index: March 2016

Authors

The U. of I. Flash Index declined in March to 105.1 from its 105.6 level in February. The current reading is the lowest in three years (March 2013, 104.7). While the Illinois economy is still growing, as 100 is the dividing line between growth and decline, the state still lags behind the rest of the nation.

“A disturbing trend is emerging with Illinois falling further behind the national economy,” said J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the Flash Index for the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.


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Flash Index: April 2016

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The University of Illinois Flash Index, which tracks economic activity in the state, fell for the second consecutive month in April, dropping to its lowest level since December 2012.

The April index of 104.7 is a decline of four-tenths of a point from March, and represents a fall of nearly one full point since February. While remaining above the 100 mark which divides economic growth and contraction, the decline indicates growth is slowing significantly.


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Flash Index: May 2016

Authors

After two months of decline, the University of Illinois Flash Index climbed in May to 105.3, its highest reading since February. The index, which is a measure of economic activity in Illinois, was at 104.7 in April and 105.1 in March. 

“This reflects a somewhat stronger Illinois economy consistent with the reported uptick in the national economy the second quarter of this year,” said University of Illinois Professor Emeritus J. Fred Giertz. “The index is still in the 105 to 106 range it has occupied this year, down slightly from 2015.”


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Flash Index: June 2016

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The University of Illinois Flash Index fell slightly in June to 105.0 from its 105.3 level in May. The index has settled in the 105 range for the past six months after a two-year period in the 106 to 107 range. Any reading above 100 indicates economic growth.

The consistency in readings in the first half of 2016 suggests that the Illinois economy is growing, although somewhat more slowly now than in 2014 and 2015. There is good news, however, about unemployment.


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The Illinois ‘Financial Condition Penalty’ Continues to Grow

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Analysis by the Fiscal Futures Project demonstrates the consequences of the state's poor credit rating. 

On June 16 the state of Illinois sold $550 million in General Obligation Bonds. This was the first bond issue since the state’s recent credit rating downgrades by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. The sale also occurred as Illinois ends FY16 without a budget, and failed to pass a budget for FY17.


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Illinois Still in the "Financial Condition Penalty" Box

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Illinois’ Jan. 14 sale of $480 million in general obligation bonds brought the state nearly $53 million less than it could have received had it been in better fiscal shape.

The analysis also indicates that this “financial condition penalty” could more than double in future years if the crisis continues. And when future capital needs are included, the estimated penalty could grow to more than $400 million per year, according to the study.


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