URBANA — The Illinois economy — as measured by growth in state tax receipts — seems to be perking along.
The University of Illinois flash index increased to its highest point in more than three years, reaching 99.2 in February, according to the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
The index is a weighted average of growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income, as measured by state tax receipts.
The flash index dipped to 90 in August 2009, and has generally been climbing since then. The last time the index was this high was in November 2008, when it stood at 100. The following month, it dropped to 98.7.
The last six months have been a period of ups and downs with the index reaching 98.8 in September, then falling back, climbing to 99.1 in December, then dropping to 98.8 in January before hitting 99.2 last month.
UI economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the institute, said unemployment rates are likely to keep the recovery slow in the coming year.
"The recovery remains relatively weak, especially in regard to unemployment rates. This is especially true in Illinois, where the unemployment rate remains more than a percentage point above the national average," Giertz said in an institute release.
However, concerns about a double-dip recession are receding, "a marked contrast to the mood in the second half of 2011," he said.
All three components of the index — individual income tax, corporate tax and sales tax receipts — increased in February, compared with a year earlier, when adjusted for inflation.
Calculations were also adjusted to account for the increases in the individual and corporate income tax rates last year.