Flash index drops in March
URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index registered a slight drop in March, indicating a slowing of economic growth in Illinois.
The index slid from 104.8 in February to 104.7 in March, according to the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
It was the second month of small drops in the index, resulting in a leveling off after several years of rising. For the last four months, the index has been in the 104.6 to 104.9 range.
"This plateau does not mean that the Illinois economy has stalled, because any reading above 100 indicates economic growth," said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the institute.
"However, growth is no longer accelerating," he said.
Two components of the index — sales tax and individual tax receipts — were down slightly, compared with a year earlier, when adjusted for inflation.
The third component — corporate income tax receipts — was up sharply.
Giertz noted that the state's unemployment rate increased from 9 percent to 9.5 percent in January — even though the national unemployment rate has been declining.
"It is too early to determine whether this will persist, but it is a cause for concern," Giertz said in a UI release.
The flash index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income.