R | E | A | L

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

contact info

Geoffrey J. D. Hewings
607 S. Matthews
Urbana, IL 61801-3671
217-333-4740 (phone)
217-244-9339 (fax)

Welcome to R|E|A|L

The Regional Economics Applications Laboratory focuses on the development and use of analytical models for urban and regional forecasting and economic development.

REAL's mission is to provide timely, high quality analytical economic information for a variety of uses such as public policy decision making by public sector agencies and for strategic marketing in the private sector. REAL's capabilities revolve around comprehensive state and metropolitan models that integrate econometric and input-output analysis to provide for both impact and forecasting analyses.

While REAL's primary focus has been on the economies of the Midwest, REAL has collaborated in the development of models for several regions on the east coast. In addition, two models have been constructed for states in Brazil and a third is under construction. A model for the Jakarta Metropolitan region is also under construction.

REAL draws its staff from cooperating institutions and advanced graduate students in the fields of economics, geography, urban and regional planning, computer science and mathematics. Many of the projects the students work on then become the basis for thesis and dissertations. 

NEW!:REAL Poster Session 2014 [Dec. 11th, 2014]

NEW!: 25h Anniversary of REAL this Wednesday Nov. 12th, 2014 at Washington DC. [program] [Facebook]

R|E|A|L Virtual Yearbook [here]

Presentation about REAL Academic and Friendship Networks [here]

Check the 2013 work of current researchers at REAL here

Monitoring the Economy


- Illinois Economic Review Report -March:

----RMW has fully recovered from the recession (100.66% recovered) but not from its previous peak in 2000. Illinois’s recovery rate from the 2007 recession is 82.16% by February 2015. 

----Chicago recovery rate in January 2015 was 98.35%. Although Kankakee’s employment level in December 2014 had exceeded its pre-recession level (108.99% in December), it fell below that level again in January 2015 (86.87% in January).

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment growth between 44,400 and 51,100.  The greatest increase is likely to happen in Professional & business services (20,400 more jobs), while the largest decline if forecast in Manufacturing (8,300 less jobs)

more (Released: 3-30-2015) 


- IL Job Report -March:

----In 2015 February, the 12-month employment growth was the greatest since 2012 November. 

----At the national level, TTU remained among the top three job contributors for two consecutive months. Education and health remained for four consecutive months.

---In Illinois, Government lost the greatest number of jobs in February (1,600 less jobs at -0.19%), while TTU gained the most (5,800 more jobs at 0.49%). Percentage-wise, Information declined the most (-0.61% down) while Construction increased the most (up 1.96%). Additionally, Government has been losing jobs for four consecutive months.

----By 2015 February, Illinois has a net loss of 71,900 jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. Given the recent trends and taking the shadow unemployment rate into account, Illinois only needs to add 49,300 jobs annually if it wants to recover to prior peak (November 2000) in five years.

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will increase for every sector except Manufacturing, Information and Financial Services. The greatest job growth is likely to happen in the Professional & business services sector (20,400 more jobs), while greatest decline may happen in the Manufacturing sector( 8,300 less jobs).

more(Released: 3-30-2015)


- MSA Job Report - February: 

----Illinois Rural had 17,600 less jobs than last month while Illinois Metro had 10,500 more jobs, resulting in an aggregate 7,100-job loss of Illinois.

----In January 2015, every MSA had better growth performance than Illinois except Decatur and Kankakee. In addition, every MSA except Decatur and Springfield has a positive 12-month ahead forecast. 

----The most remarkable upward move in January was recorded for Peoria (10th to 1st). On the other hand, since July 2014 Champaign –Urbana has remained in the first place on the 12-month growth performance table.

----Bloomington-Normal had the firs employment growth after a four- month decline.

----The major geographic divisions, Chicago-Downstate and Metro-Rural had mixed growth performances. Chicago Upstate added 7,800 jobs at 0.20%, where Professional & business services had the greatest job growth among all sectors (4,100 more jobs). Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 11.02% - the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -3.44%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 0.28% job gain (11,200 more jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (2.69%) but the greatest decline would be in Financial activities (-1.40%).

more(Released: 2-30-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - January: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 100.0 in January from 92.9 in December. The rise is attributed to positive job growth in the nonmanufacturing and construction sectors and to improved retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 03-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -March: According to the forecast for January 2016, Bloomington, Decatur, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 3-15-2015)

- Housing Tax incentive: While 84,559 homebuyers in Illinois put in a claim for the Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit, only 25,504 sales were actually boosted by the incentive more (Released: 09-21-2010)

Previous releases-

REAL Seminar - Spring 2015

The venue and time:
Mondays, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:

30th March

Dongwoo Kim "The Effect of Violent Crime on Educational Attainment"

List of past seminars



REAL in the news

Recent research featured from REAL members.

Visit EU REAL - the European Union REAL

Regional Economics Applications Laboratory modeling and forecasting about the European Union.

Visit the Regional Science website at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Regional Science at the UI.











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