U of I Flash Index up in July

August 1, 2019

U of I Flash Index up in July

U.S. economy in longest period of expansion on record


The University of Illinois Flash Index was up in July after two months of decline. The Flash Index bounced back to 105.4 in July from its 105.2 level in June.

Both the Illinois and national economies continue to grow at a moderate, steady pace. Any Index reading above 100 denotes growth.

“July 2019 marked the longest expansion in U. S. history, going back to the 1850s. This period of economic growth has broken the 120-month record from 1991 to 2001. While the current expansion is the longest, the rate of expansion has been relatively modest,” said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

The early years of recovery were marked by a slow reduction in the unemployment rate. However, this steady progress has now resulted in the lowest national unemployment rate in 50 years, Giertz said.   

Illinois’ unemployment rate stands at a 4.3 percent, near the recovery low of 4.2 percent last September. The national rate is 3.7 percent.

Quarterly national GDP growth for the second quarter fell to 2.1 percent rate from the strong 3.1 rate for the first quarter. Most forecasts suggest continued growth in the low 2 percent range for the remainder of the year, with little concern for a near-term recession.

All three components of the Flash Index (individual income, corporate and sales tax receipts) were up from the same month last year after adjusting for inflation and rate changes. 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, 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 July 31, 2019. 



Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none