Illinois’ economy continues slow, steady growth

URBANA, Ill. — The monthly measure of the state’s economy is where it’s been since May 2013 – slow, steady growth.

The Flash Index, a weighted average of consumer spending, personal income, and corporate earnings, slipped from 106.5 in August to 106.0 in September. 100 is the number separating growth from contraction.

UI economics professor Fred Giertz says the 106-107 plateau is not stagnation. “It doesn’t mean the economy is going downhill. It’s just not advancing as fast as it might have.”

“The strong dollar has potentially had an impact on Illinois’ exporting,” he adds. “Exports were strong until a year ago ro so, and the stronger dollar makes it more expensive for Illinois to export abroad. And there are changes in China with the layoffs at Caterpillar,” an Illinois-based company whose CEO helped the governor get elected but which now apparently can’t wait for the economy to boom, as it’s soon cutting thousands of management jobs.

Giertz says the strategies of the Peoria-based firm led by Douglas Oberhelman, who was part of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s circle in the campaign and transition, don’t really have that much to do with one another, but that’s a story for another time.