Flash index hits highest level since July '07

Flash index hits highest level since July '07

URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index rose to its highest level in six years when it reached 106.5 in July, up from 106.3 in June.

That indicates the Illinois economy continued to grow, even though the unemployment rate remained relatively high.

The index, compiled by economist J. Fred Giertz for the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, is a weighted average of growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income as measured by state tax receipts.

The index has risen for the last four months. It is now at its highest level since July 2007, when it reached 106.7.

In July, two components of the index — individual income tax receipts and sales tax receipts — were up moderately, compared with the same month a year ago, when adjusted for inflation.

The third component — corporate tax receipts — was down by a small amount.

"Good news about the state's economic growth is tempered by the now-familiar refrain that both the state and national unemployment rates remain very high for this stage of a recovery," Giertz said in a release from the institute.

The Illinois unemployment rate remains in the 9 percent range four years after the end of the 2007-09 recession.

Overall growth in the economy hasn't created enough new jobs to reabsorb the unemployed while accommodating new entrants to the workforce, the release stated.

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