Flash Index dips in August
URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index dropped slightly in August, but remained in the narrow range it's been in this spring and summer.
The index, considered a gauge of the Illinois economy, fell from 106.2 in July to 106 in August, according to the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
That continued a seesaw trend that started with 106 in April, 106.2 in May and 106 in June.
The index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rate in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. Tax receipts from corporate income, personal income and retail sales are adjusted for inflation before growth rates are calculated.
In August, all three components of the index — individual income tax receipts, corporate tax receipts and sales tax receipts — were down slightly from August 2013, when adjusted for inflation.
Despite the slight decline in the index, it still indicates that the Illinois economy is growing — though at a slightly slower rate. Any index reading above 100 indicates growth in the state economy, while any reading below 100 indicates an economic decline.
The state's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in July — the first time since 2008 that the rate has fallen below 7 percent. The state unemployment rate exceeded the national rate by only six-tenths of a percentage point in July, compared with a 2 percentage point differential several years ago.