News Local/State

‘Moderate Growth Path’ For State Economy As Flash Index Drops In October

J. Fred Giertz

Fred Giertz compiles the Flash Index for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Institute of Government and Public Affairs

The Flash Index to the Illinois economy took a slight dip in October, dropping to 105.3, from its September reading of 105.5. Any reading above 100 from the Flash Index means economic growth, and by that standard, the state’s economy has been growing since 2012.

Economist Fred Giertz says the lower reading shows that Illinois is still on a path of moderate economic growth. He says that’s a good showing, considering that the state’s economy follows a little behind the national economy.

“The United States is slowing and the rest of the world is slowing even more,” said Giertz. “So it's actually good news and revenue is up in two of the three sources substantially.”

Those sources are Illinois’ three main tax revenue streams: sales, corporate and income taxes. Giertz says October sales and corporate tax receipts are up more than ten percent from a year ago, while income tax receipts are down, slightly.

Giertz says one sign of Illinois’ steady growth is the state’s improving unemployment rate.

“Five or ten years ago, no one would believe that Illinois unemployment is below 4%, which is really unheard of,” said Geirtz. “It hasn't been true for almost five decades. So again, it's pretty good news in the context of continued slow growth.”

Illinois’ unemployment rate was at 3.6% in September, according to preliminary figures as of Oct. 24, from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Giertz compiles the Flash Index for the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. The index provides an early look at the Illinois economy for the month, by using looking at state tax receipts to compile a weighted average of growth rates in corporate income, personal income and consumer spending.