U of I Flash Index reaches highest level since May 2016

September 4, 2018

U of I Flash Index reaches highest level since May 2016


The University of Illinois Flash Index reached its highest point in more than two years in August, climbing to 105.1. That’s up from 104.9 in July.

The monthly measure of the Illinois economy was last above the 105 mark in June 2016. The August reading is the highest since a 105.3 mark in May 2016. Read the full Flash Index archive.

"The Illinois economy benefited from the strong growth of the U. S. economy that is predicted to exceed 3 percent for the year,” said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “The state unemployment rate continued its decline to 4.2 percent, the lowest since January 1999 when the rate was 4.1 percent, and is only three-tenths of a percentage point above the national level."

The index has still not reached the post-recession highs in the 106 to 107 range achieved in 2014 to 2015, but it has finally broken out of the 104 to 105 range of the last two years, Giertz said. Any index reading above 100 indicates economic growth, while readings below 100 indicate the economy is contracting.

All three components of the index (sales, corporate and individual income tax receipts) were up for August compared to 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. 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 August 31, 2018.

Three-year chart of Flash index readings

Research Area: Fiscal Health of Illinois

Policy Initiative: none