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Illinois Economy Stalls In November: Flash Index

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Illinois’ economic recovery stalled last month, according to the University of Illinois Flash Index.

The Flash Index measured the state’s economy at 95.6 for both October and November, bringing a pause to five months of steady improvement.

“What we’re basically, is treading water this month, in terms of recovery from the spring crisis,” said University of Illinois economist Fred Giertz.

The spring crisis Giertz mentioned was the initial surge of COVID-19 cases, which turned a growing Illinois economy into a contracting one. From February to May, the Flash Index dropped from 105.7 to 92.8. It will need to rise above 100 again to show a resumption of growth.

Giertz says he thinks the state economy is reflecting both near-term gloom and long-term hope.

 “In the near term, the economy has been affected by the resurgence of the coronavirus,” said Giertz. “In the longer term, there are brighter prospects, as evidenced by the increase in the stock market, which is based on the likely availability of a vaccine fairly soon, and a resolution of what could have been a presidential impasse with the election.”

Giertz compiles the Flash Index for the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, using a weighted average of Illinois tax receipts. This enables a quick look at the state economy, weeks before other data is available.

For November, Giertz says Illinois corporate taxes were down substantially, compared to a year ago, a sign of the weakened economy. But personal income and sales taxes were down only slightly, after adjusting for inflation, compared to last year.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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