U of I Flash Index up in March

April 1, 2019

U of I Flash Index up in March

Moderate growth pattern continues


The University of Illinois Flash Index rose slightly in March to 105.4, up one-tenth of a point from the previous month and matching the reading in January. The reading indicates that the Illinois economy continues in the moderate growth pattern that it has maintained over the last year. A Flash Index reading above 100 indicates the economy is growing while readings below 100 indicate economic contraction.

The Flash Index has stayed within a range of 105.1 to 105.5 since last July. It has not been below the 100 mark since February 2012. See the full Flash Index archive.

"The national economy is in an unsettled position with the slowing of the world economy and the expectation of slower GDP growth in 2019, well below the nearly 3 percent rate last year," said University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the University System's Institute of Government and Public Affairs. "However, unemployment remains extremely low and moderate inflation appears to have put a halt to interest increases by the Federal Reserve.  In the first quarter this year, the stock market recovered most of the losses from the fourth quarter of 2018."

Illinois’ unemployment rate remains at 4.3 percent, extremely low by historical standards, Giertz said. Aside from the minimum wage increase, the General Assembly has not taken significant budget actions although an impasse for the FY2020 budget is unlikely with Democratic control of the of the governor office and the General Assembly, he said.

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

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 March 31, 2019.

Flash Index 3-year Chart

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none