Flash Index Moves Up In February
The Flash Index to the Illinois economy moved up slightly in February after two months of declines. The University of Illinois’ monthly reading measured the economy at 105.6. That’s up from 105.3 in January, but still below last year’s highs between 106 and 107.
University of Illinois economist Fred Giertz, who prepares the Flash Index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs,, says last month’s improvement comes despite a slight uptick in unemployment, and despite the ongoing state budget impasse. Giertz says the budget impasse is definitely a factor in the Illinois economy, although it’s hard to determine exactly what role it plays.
“There’s no way to just aggregate the effect of the impasse on the Illinois economy from all the other factors that are occurring,” said Giertz. “So the Flash Index doesn’t really tell us much about the impasse. But there is now a lot of anecdotal information about the cuts starting to hit home.”
Giertz says the impact of the budget impasse will become more severe, the longer it goes on.
The Flash Index is based on Illinois tax receipts from corporate income, personal income and retail sales, and any number above 100 shows economic growth. Giertz says that while Illinois is more prosperous than neighboring states, its rate of economic growth is slower.