News Local/State

Flash Index Of 105.4 Shows Illinois Economy “Relatively Strong”

A graph showing the Flash Index of Illinois Economic Growth over the past three years.

A graph showing the Flash Index of Illinois Economic Growth over the past three years. University of Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs

The Flash Index to the Illinois economy slipped a tenth of a point from December to January. But economist J. Fred Giertz says last month’s reading of 105.4 still shows “relatively strong” economic growth for the state.

January’s reading remains near the Flash Index’s three-year-high of 105.6, reached in February 2016. Any reading above 100 shows economic growth. The Flash Index last fell below 100 from December 2008 to February 2012, but has stayed above 100 since then.

Giertz says the Flash Index does not predict the future. But he says the state’s economy depends on the health of the national and global economy --- which could change in 2019.

“There’s a lot of concern now about whether 2019 is going to be as strong as 2018,” said Giertz. “And right now, it appears it will probably not be. There’s some international issues. Well, the economy is somewhat slower than expected. Things of that sort.”

Giertz compiles the Flash Index for the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. The Index is based on a weighted average of growth rates, as reflected in state tax receipts. Giertz says sales tax receipts were up slightly in January, compared to a year ago. Corporate and individual tax receipts were down.

Giertz says it’s likely that the individual tax receipts were affected by lower estimated tax payments compared to last year, because of a reduction in capital gains last year, caused by a weak stock market.