U of I Flash Index slips slightly for second straight month

March 1, 2019

U of I Flash Index slips slightly for second straight month

Illinois economy continues to grow moderately


The University of Illinois Flash Index slipped a tick for the second straight month in February, dropping to 105.3. However, even with the dip from January's reading of 105.4, the Illinois economy continues to expand at a moderate rate.

Flash Index readings higher than 100 indicate economic growth, and the February reading is only two-tenths of a point off the three-year high. For comparison, the February 2018 reading was 104.6. The Flash Index has remained above the 100 mark since March 2012. View the full archive of readings.

“The U.S. and Illinois economies in 2019 are growing at a somewhat slower rate than 2018, but the fear of a near-term recession seems unfounded at this point,” said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “Recently released GDP numbers for 2018 show that the economy grew at 2.9 percent for the year, just missing the elusive 3 percent level. 

“Most observers see a slower rate in the mid-2 percent range for 2019. Unfortunately, 3 percent growth is not the new normal,” Giertz said.

Two components of the index (individual and corporate tax receipts) were up from the same month last year after adjusting for inflation and rate changes while sales tax receipts were down slightly

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 February 28, 2019.

Flash Index 3-year chart


Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none