Flash Index Sees Slight Growth in May
By Jim Meadows and Sean Powers
The University of Illinois Flash Index to the state’s economy rose slightly in May, to 105.9
The increase of one-tenth of a point maintains the full-point jump that was seen in the April reading of 104.7. Anything above 100 on the Flash Index represents economic growth in Illinois. The Flash Index has been above 100 for 14 months, and is at its highest point since reaching 106 in August of 2007.
But economist Fred Giertz with the U of I’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs points out that while the Flash Index is rising, Illinois’ unemployment remains high, at 9.3 percent.
“The negative, which has almost always been the case for the last couple of years, is that the rate of growth has not been sufficient to make a big dent in the level of unemployment," Giertz said. "So, the unemployment in the state remains high and high in the country, although it’s worse in Illinois than it is in the country as a whole.”
In addition, Giertz said the Flash Index's April jump was due to unusually large final tax payments, instead of steady growth in the state's tax revenue.
Giertz said economic recovery will have to grow even more to get the state’s jobless rate back to pre-recession levels.
The Flash Index is a weighted average of growth rates in Illinois’ corporate, sales and personal income taxes.