UI index shows slight growth

UI index shows slight growth

URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index showed slight growth in the Illinois economy in May, following larger increases in the index the previous two months.

The index, which jumped from 99.2 in February to 101.0 in March and to 101.9 in April, reached 102.0 in May, according to the UIs Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

A reading of 100 or above indicates economic growth.

While the increase in May was positive, according to a UI news release, it also confirms "the slow recovery that the state and nation have been experiencing for some time."

UI economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index, said the Illinois economy is continuing to grow at a sluggish pace two years following the 2007-2009 recession. He said national economic trends do not indicate the slow pace of growth will change any time soon, slowed by problems in Europe and sluggish job growth in the United States.

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

In May, all three components of the index — individual income tax, corporate tax and sales tax receipts — were up moderately compared with May 2011, when adjusted for inflation.

According to Giertz, the national unemployment rate rose from 8.1 to 8.2 percent in May.

He said that, while the economy is growing, the rate of growth is not sufficient to create enough new jobs to bring the unemployed back into the workforce while accommodating new people entering the workforce.