Flash Index stays unchanged

URBANA — The University of Illinois flash index remained at 102.9 in August, unchanged from July, indicating sluggish economic growth in the state.

Economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index, said state and national unemployment rates rose slightly in July and growth in Gross Domestic Product remains slow.

"Slow growth has been the hallmark of the recovery from the 2007-09 recession, the most sluggish since the end of World War II," Giertz said.

"Recessions accompanied by financial crises like the one experienced in 2008 often have similar difficult recoveries," said Giertz, who compiles the index for the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

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

In August, two components of the index — individual income tax receipts and corporate tax receipts — were up slightly from the same month last year, when adjusted for inflation. The third component — sales tax receipts — fell slightly.

The index hasn't shown much movement the last few months after a steady march upward over the past two years.

The index stood at 101.9 in April, inched up to 102 in May and shot up to 102.7 in June before stabilizing at 102.9 in July and August.

Index readings greater than 100 indicate the economy is expanding, while readings lower than 100 indicate the economy is contracting.

Giertz said while the rate of growth is now positive, it is not strong enough to make much headway in reducing the unemployment rate.

The number of new jobs is insufficient to absorb new workers and those who have lost their jobs, he said in a UI press release.

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