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UI Flash Index of economic growth rose modestly in February
Mark Reutter, Business Editor
J. Fred Giertz, Institute of Government and Public Affairs
EDITORS, NEWS DIRECTORS: The Flash Index of Economic Growth, produced by economists at the University of Illinois, is based on the most up-to-date information on the state economy.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —The University of Illinois Flash Economic Index rose modestly to 102.5 in February, suggesting continued steady growth for the state’s economy.
The reading, up from 102.2 in January, is within the slow growth range that the Index has occupied for the last six months.
“This suggests that the Illinois economy is in a relatively stable situation, growing somewhat less rapidly than indicated by fourth-quarter figures of the national economy as a whole,” said J. Fred Giertz, an economist at the UI Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who released the February Flash reading today (March 2).
Giertz said the state’s slow growth rate is most likely the result of a very low level of unemployment following nine years of uninterrupted expansion, the longest boom in Illinois history.
Individual income-tax and sales-tax receipts were up in real terms last month compared with the same month one year ago. Corporate-tax receipts were down for the month, but the decline was relatively unimportant because corporate receipts are historically very low for the month of February.
The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. The growth rate in state tax receipts for each component is calculated for the 12-month period using data obtained through Feb. 29.
Any Flash reading above 100 means the state economy is expanding, while any number below 100 means the economy is shrinking.