April U of I Flash Index declined slightly

May 2, 2022

April U of I Flash Index declined slightly

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The University of Illinois Flash Index fell slightly in April, declining to 106.0 from 106.1 in March.

The lower index reading does not mean the Illinois economy is contracting because any reading above 100 indicates growth. 

“The current status of the Illinois economy is one of the most perplexing on record,” said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “On one hand, state revenues, the key component of the index, have been amazingly strong along with a continued decrease in the state and national unemployment rates. In stark contrast, real national GDP declined in the first quarter of 2022, while the stock and bond markets retreated when faced with rising interest rates. The prospect of a recession in the next year has also become a concern.” 

Giertz said that more interest rate increases are likely in store as the Federal Reserve deals somewhat belatedly with unexpectedly high rates of inflation. He also noted that the 1.4% dip in national GDP in the first quarter was partially the result of technical factors.

“While the Illinois economy remains strong, there is little certainty about its future course,” Giertz said.

Some of the strength of the Flash Index has come from unusually robust individual income and corporate tax receipts. This is partially the result of changing filing dates the last two years, but there is no denying the underlying strength of these sources. Sales tax growth has been more moderate, barely keeping pace with inflation.  See the full Flash Index archive

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income as estimated from receipts for corporate income, individual income, and retail sales taxes. These 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 April 30, 2022. After more than two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, ad hoc adjustments are still needed because of the timing of the tax receipts resulting from state and Federal changes in payment dates.

 

Flash Index three year chart


Research Area: Fiscal and Economic Policy

Policy Initiative: none

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