U of I Flash Index down after year-end increase

February 3, 2020

U of I Flash Index down after year-end increase


The U of I Flash Index began the new year with a slight decline in January, falling to 105.4 from its 105.6 reading in December. 

The index remains in the narrow range it has occupied the last 18 months. "This reflects the now-familiar story of both the national and Illinois economies continued growth at a moderate, steady rate,” said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. An index reading above 100 denotes growth. 

The recently-released fourth-quarter GDP growth rate shows a return to the near 2 percent level that has seems to be the new norm with 2.1 percent, 2.1 percent, and 2.0 percent registered respectively for the last three quarters. “On a positive note, this is actually good news compared with recession fears raised mid-year in 2019,” Giertz said.

The Illinois employment rate fell to 3.7 percent, the lowest in more than 50 years and only two-tenths of a percentage point above the national level. 

Two components of the index, the corporate and individual income tax receipts, declined. Sales tax receipts increased slightly compared with the same month last year after adjusting for inflation. The lower corporate receipts may be a response to strong revenues over the last quarter of 2019. 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 January 31, 2020. 

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none