From WILL - News Headlines -

Economic Numbers Improve Slowly For Illinois

After taking a dip in January, the Flash Index of the Illinois economy continued to show improvement in February. The monthly index from the University of Illinois showed a reading of 99.2 in February --- its best showing since November of 2008. The index is a weighted average of growth in Illinois income and sales taxes.

U of I economist Fred Giertz says the Flash Index will have to rise back to 100 to show economic growth. He's expecting continued to improvement, but says the economy in Illinois is hampered by a state unemployment rate that's been higher than the national rate for some time.

'It's a recovery and things are going in the right direction", says Giertz. "And it's unlikely we're going to have a double-dip (recession). But we're not really back to what more people consider a normal healthy kind of situation, of 5 or 6 percent unemployment."

New unemployment figures for Illinois show the jobless rate falling .3% during January, to 9.4%. The national unemployment rate is 8.3%. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state saw a net increase of 3800 jobs. The strongest gains were in Professional and Business Services, and the Leisure and Hospitality industry.