U of I Flash Index falls for second consecutive month

November 1, 2016

U of I Flash Index falls for second consecutive month

Lowest reading since November 2012


The University of Illinois Flash Index for October has dropped for a second consecutive month, dipping to 104.3 from its 104.5 level in September. This is the lowest reading since November 2012, when the index registered 103.9. 

The dip means that the Illinois economy is growing more slowly than in previous months, but it is not declining since 100 is the dividing line between growth and decline, said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the Flash Index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

"The state is in a new, slower phase of the expansion after the 2007-2009 recession," Giertz said. "If there is any good news, it is that the Illinois unemployment rate remains at a low 5.5 percent, only one-half of a percentage point above the national rate. Also, the U.S. economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate for the third quarter of 2016, more than double the rate for the first half of the year."

All three components of the index -- individual income, sales and especially, corporate tax receipts -- were down from the same month last year after adjusting for inflation.

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 October 31, 2016.

Table of Flash Index 1981-present




Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none