State economy growing despite dip in flash index

URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index declined slightly in October, but its compiler said the state economy seemed to be expanding at a modest but steady rate.

The flash index — considered a barometer of the state economy — declined from 107 in September to 106.9 in October, according to a release from the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Two index components — individual income-tax receipts and corporate income-tax receipts — declined slightly in October, when adjusted for inflation. The third component — sales tax receipts — was up moderately.

October's slight drop followed a strong increase in September.

"The October results do not show any obvious negative impact of the federal shutdown on the Illinois economy," said J. Fred Giertz who compiles the index for the institute.

The index can't measure the direct effect of the shutdown on the economy, but a relatively steady reading indicates the state economy remained unscathed in October, despite political turmoil in Washington.

Giertz said the U.S. unemployment rate declined by only one-tenth of a percent, so the state unemployment rate likely remained steady.

The index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income.

Generally, index readings above 100 indicate the economy is expanding, while index readings below 100 indicate the economy is contracting.

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