Flash index drops for second straight month

Flash index drops for second straight month

URBANA —The University of Illinois flash index has declined for a second straight month, suggesting a slower rate of growth for the Illinois economy.

The index fell to 106.5 in March, down from 106.8 in February and 107.2 in January, according to the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

The statistic indicates the Illinois economy is still expanding, but at a slower pace than a few months ago.

"There are expectations that growth will pick up again in the second quarter after the unusually severe winter," said J. Fred Giertz, the economist who compiles the index for the institute.

The flash index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income, as measured by state tax receipts.

All three components — receipts from corporate taxes, sales taxes and individual income taxes — were up modestly in March from the same month in 2013, when adjusted for inflation.

The index has moved in a narrow range — from 106.3 to 107.2 — over the last 10 months.

The Illinois unemployment rate, which has been moving down, stands at 8.7 percent, which is 2 percentage points above the national average.

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