Flash Index: May 2016

June 1, 2016

Flash Index: May 2016


After two months of decline, the University of Illinois Flash Index climbed in May to 105.3, its highest reading since February. The index, which is a measure of economic activity in Illinois, was at 104.7 in April and 105.1 in March. 

“This reflects a somewhat stronger Illinois economy consistent with the reported uptick in the national economy the second quarter of this year,” said University of Illinois Professor Emeritus J. Fred Giertz. “The index is still in the 105 to 106 range it has occupied this year, down slightly from 2015.”

“While the index is lower than much of the last two years, Illinois’ economy is still growing since the index is above 100, the dividing line between growth and decline,” said Giertz, who has compiled the Flash Index for the University’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs since 1995.

Illinois' unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.6 percent in May, more than 1.5 percentage points above the national rate. And the continuing lack of a state budget continues to weight on the Illinois economy, though the Flash Index is unable to detect the precise impact of the impasse, Giertz said.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. For May, individual income tax and corporate tax receipts were up, while sales tax revenues were down slightly. 

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 May 31, 2016.

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none