News Local/State

Flash Index Down For Second Consecutive Month

A graph of the Flash Index for the past three years.

A graph shows the Flash Index's readings for the past three years, up to February 2019. University of Illinois Institute of Govt. & Public Affairs

The latest reading from the Flash Index shows the rate of economic growth in Illinois decreasing for the 2nd month in a row.

From a three-year high in December of 105.6, the Flash Index dropped to 105.4 in January and 105.3 in February.  Any number on the Flash Index above 100 means the economy is growing.

“It’s certainly a small change,” said economist Fred Giertz, who compiles the Flash Index for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, based on state tax receipts. “And it’s within the kind of margin where there’s no significant upward or downward movement. But it does indicate something which I think is becoming more apparent now.”

Giertz says what is more apparent is that the Illinois economy, along with the national, economy, is not growing as fast as many had hoped. But he says it’s still growing, back at the rate seen about six months ago. And Giertz adds that recession fears caused by declines in the stock market appear to be unfounded.

“That appears to have dissipated right now,” said Giertz. “So it looks like a not particularly exciting forecast of more of the same: moderate growth, not particularly high, but in the short run at least, not looking towards a major downturn.”

But Giertz cautions, a recession is not something that can really be predicted.