September U of I Flash Index remained steady

The U of I Flash Index for September 2023 remained at 102.9, the same as in August. The Index appears to be in a holding pattern since the beginning of 2023, remaining in a narrow range of around 103. As noted last month, this may be an indication that the long-sought-after soft landing is in sight. This is in marked contrast to the general outlook prevailing until recently that the economy was likely heading toward at least a minor recession.

“Nationally and in Illinois, the unemployment rates rose slightly. The Illinois rate is at 4.1% compared to the U.S. rate of 3.8%. Both rates are still low by historical standards. The Illinois rate is now only three-tenths of a percentage point above the national average, the smallest differential in many years.”

Receipts in September from Illinois’ major taxes (components of the Flash Index) were mixed. In inflation-adjusted terms, individual income tax receipts were up from the same month last year, corporate receipts were down, and sales tax receipts were unchanged.

The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending, and personal income as estimated from receipts for corporate income, individual income, and retail sales taxes. These revenues are adjusted for inflation before growth rates are calculated. The growth rate for each component is calculated for the 12-month period using data through September 30, 2023. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, ad hoc adjustments are still needed because of the timing of the tax receipts resulting from state and Federal changes in payment dates in recent years.

October 2, 2023