Illinois economic index edges up

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois index of the state’s economy rose in March to a level only seen two other times since the recession that started in 2007. The university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs said Friday that its Flash Index hit 107 in March. Any reading above 100 indicates growth in the state’s economy. Readings below 100 indicate contraction. Fred Giertz is the economist who compiles the index. He said the strong reading reflect in part the continued improvement in the state’s unemployment picture. Unemployment in March was 6 percent. That’s its lowest level in almost seven years. The index has hovered below 107 for more than a year.