Drop In Flash Index Keeps Pace With National Economy
A monthly indicator of the Illinois economy shows it continues to grow, but at a slower rate. The University of Illinois Flash Index mark of 105.3 for January is down two-tenths of a point from the month before -- and the lowest reading since March of 2013.
The author of the Flash Index, economist Fred Giertz, says the lower reading is consistent with the national economic slowdown. And he says it’s not clear if the state’s budget impasse is having much of an impact.
Giertz says Illinois is collecting less in taxes these days, which hurts the state’s finances, but that also means consumers now have more money in their hands.
“It also continues the uncertainty – which may have some impact on people deciding about expansion, or moving, or coming here, things of that sort," he said. "So it clearly is an issue, but it’s very hard to disentangle right now, about how important it is quantitatively.”
Illinois' unemployment rate rose again in January to 5.7 percent, compared to 5 percent nationally.
The monthly Flash Index is based on tax receipts reflecting corporate earnings, consumer spending, and personal income.