The economic recovery is more tortoise than hare. For the second straight month, the University of Illinois Flash Index is at 102.9. The measure of Illinois’ economic growth considers personal income, consumer spending, and corporate earnings, with 100 being the break-even point between growth and contraction.
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Fred Giertz, an economics professor who is director of the U. of I. Institute for Government and Public Affairs, compiles the Flash Index and says it is accurate to say the current recovery is the worst since the Great Depression; assigning blame, though, is less clear. Changing presidents in two months may not help soon: “There’s a genuine disagreement among a lot of people, including economists,” he says. “Some economists thought that the stimulus package should be much more aggressive, we should have had even larger deficits and spend more money. Others – obviously, those would be people who are probably supporting President Obama – said that we actually went the wrong direction and, instead of making some hard choices, we passed legislation like Obamacare and so on that created uncertainty.”
Giertz notes unemployment remains too high in Illinois and the nation for people to be boasting of a real recovery.