Illinois’ monthly measure of the economy remains positive. The Flash Index, put out by the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, has moved from 106.6 in November to 106.5 in January. The weighted average of personal income, corporate earnings, and consumer spending is seemingly locked into place.
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Other numbers are catching up: the state’s unemployment went from 9 percent at the start of 2014 to 6.4 at the end of the year. “Unemployment is a lagging indicator; it goes down after the economy picks up,” says Fred Giertz, the economics professor who authors the index. “Even though the Flash Index is not up, the economy actually is doing better, and that’s sort of reinforced by the national numbers, with a very strong third quarter, and people are expecting the fourth quarter to come in pretty strong.”
The Flash Index was in the 106-107 range for all of 2014, and above the break-even mark of 100 since March 2012.