U of I Flash Index back to 104.9 in July

August 1, 2018

U of I Flash Index back to 104.9 in July


Reflecting continued strength in the national economy, the University of Illinois Flash Index climbed 104.9 in July, returning to the level it reached in May. That is the highest level since a reading of 105 in June 2016. The Flash Index measures the Illinois economy based upon personal and corporate income tax receipts and retail sales.

"The U. S. economy was especially strong in the second quarter of 2018 with 4.2 percent growth rate, the best performance in almost four years," said economist J. Fred Gierz, who has compiled the index for the University's Institute of Government and Public Affairs since 1991. "While it is uncertain whether this higher growth rate can be sustained, it is good news, especially given the turmoil generated by ongoing international trade issues." The Illinois unemployment rate remained steady in July at 4.3 percent, but narrowed the gap with the U.S. rate, which rose to 4 percent.

Flash Index levels above 100 indicate economic growth while levels below 100 are an indication of economic decline. The index has been between 104 and 105 for the past 25 months, with one exception in September 2017 when it dipped to 103.9. Two components of the index (the corporate and individual income tax receipts) were virtually unchanged while corporate tax receipts were down slightly for the month compared to the same month last year after adjusting for inflation and rate changes. View the full Flash Index Archive.

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 July 31, 2018.


Additional Resources

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none