U of I Flash Index up at the end of 2019

January 2, 2020

U of I Flash Index up at the end of 2019

State’s economy continues longest period of sustained growth on record


The U of I Flash Index ended the year on a high note, increasing to 105.6 from it 105.4 level in November. 

Sales tax, individual income tax and corporate tax receipts were up from the same month last year after adjusting for inflation. The totals for each of the three components of the Flash Index for the past 12 months also showed strong gains. 

Looking back over the past decade, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 11.1 percent ten years ago, near the end of the Great Recession. Today, the rate is 3.8 percent, the lowest in over fifty years. Ten years ago, the Flash index was 91.2, near its low point after the recession. See the full Flash Index archive.

“This is obviously a great improvement, especially considering the problems Illinois has faced that continue to trouble the state,” said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “Illinois has had to deal with the general decline in manufacturing employment that has plagued the Midwest, small decreases in population and the self-inflicted problems associated with an unbalanced fiscal condition.”

Giertz said that in one sense, 2019 appears uneventful, with the index ending just two-tenth of a point above its level in January. “However, the Illinois and national economies overcame mid-year recession fears and continued a long period of sustained growth—now the longest in history,” he said.

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, personal 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 December 31, 2019. An index reading above 100 denotes growth.

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none