Flash index hits highest level in six years
URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index jumped from 106.5 in August to 107 in September — its highest level in more than six years.
The index is considered a barometer of the Illinois economy. The last time it was this high was April 2007, when the index stood at 107.4.
Generally, readings above 100 indicate the economy is growing, while readings below 100 show the economy is shrinking.
The index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income.
To reflect those, economist J. Fred Giertz looks at Illinois corporate income tax receipts, retail sales tax receipts and individual income tax receipts.
In September, all three components were up, when adjusted for inflation, from September 2012.
Corporate and individual income tax receipts were up substantially, while sales tax receipts were up moderately.
Even though the economy is growing, unemployment remains high, Giertz noted. The national unemployment rate has fallen in the past year but remains above 7 percent — high in comparison with past recoveries.
"Unemployment in Illinois is even more dire," Giertz stated in a release from the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
"The state rate is 9.2 percent. This is the same as one year ago and the second-highest in the nation. Only Nevada's rate is higher."