From WILL - News Local/State -

UI Flash Index Highest Reading in Nearly Six Years

A monthly indicator of Illinois’ economic progress has shown its highest reading since August 2007.

The author of the University of Illinois Flash Index said the sharp increase to 105.8 in April is due to unusually large payments in 2012 tax returns. The rating was at 104.7 in March.

Economist Fred Giertz compared April’s index reading to December, when the holiday shopping season is strong. 

“Every April is a pretty strong month," he said.  "But that hasn’t pushed the flash index up unless we have an unusually strong month, and this was, in fact, an unusually strong month.  So it’s not just that it was April and we had lots of tax collections, it was April and we had tax collections that were much strong than an average year.”

Giertz said this shows 2012 was a stronger year than analysts initially thought, that people were generating some income through capital gains and bonuses. 

But Giertz said the growth still is not enough to make a big dent in unemployment figures.

The monthly U of I Flash Index is made up of individual and corporate tax receipts.

Categories: Consumer issues, Economics