U of I Flash Index holds steady in October

November 1, 2018

U of I Flash Index holds steady in October

Indicates continued growth in state’s economy


The University of Illinois Flash Index remained steady in October at 105.2, the same reading as September. That is the highest reading for the monthly measure of the Illinois economy since May 2016. 

The Flash Index incorporates growth rates in the state’s corporate earnings, consumer spending and retail sales using tax receipts. Any index reading above 100 denotes economic growth in the state. View the full Flash Index archive

“The Illinois economy has been bolstered by a strong national economy where GDP growth in last four quarters has exceeded the target 3 percent level,” said U of I economist J. Fred Giertz, compiles the Flash Index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “The last two quarters have been especially strong with 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter followed by a preliminary estimate of 3.5 percent for the third quarter.”

The Illinois unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent, but lost ground the national rate that fell to the lowest level since 1969--3.7 percent compared to 3.9 percent previous month.

While indicators of the overall economy remain strong, the financial markets have been volatile in October with a number of sharp declines, Giertz said. “This has caused concern about the sustainability of strong three-percent growth in the future although few observers see signs of a recession,” he said. 

Two components of the index (corporate and individual income tax receipts) were up in October compared to 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 October 31, 2018. Learn more about the Flash Index.

Three-year chart of the Flash Index

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none