U of I Flash Index climb to 104.2 in November

December 1, 2017

U of I Flash Index climb to 104.2 in November

Monthly indicator reverses October decline


Strong national growth might be starting to show impact in Illinois, according to a monthly measure of the state’s economy. The University of Illinois Flash Index moved up to 104.2 in November, erasing an October dip to 103.9. The rise brings the index back to the level it was in September. Look at the entire Flash Index history.

Last month’s drop pushed the Flash Index to its lowest point in nearly five years. However, it appears that Illinois might be beginning to reap the benefits of the robust national economy, where growth has exceeded 3 percent in the last two quarters, said U of I economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

“Third quarter growth was recently revised upward to 3.3 percent,” Giertz said. “This continues the long slow recovery that began in 2009.”

The state’s unemployment rate, also a growth indicator, fell to 4.9 percent in November, matching the one-tenth of a point decline in the national rate. Giertz noted, however, that the Illinois rate remains well above the national rate, which was 4.1 percent.

The state’s individual income tax receipts (adjusted for rate changes) were up for the November, while sales tax revenue remained virtually unchanged from same month last year after adjusting for inflation. Corporate tax collections are not strictly comparable because of changes the monthly pattern of receipts.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. Tax receipts from corporate income, personal income and retail sales 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 November 30, 2017.

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none