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!: Check the latest work of current resaerchers at REAL here

Monitoring the Economy


- Illinois Economic Review Report -July:

----At the national level, there is an increasingly larger gap between the official unemployment rate and the shadow unemployment rate. To be more specific, the national shadow unemployment rate has stayed within the interval of 12% to 13% since January 2010, while the official unemployment rate has decreased from 10% to around 6% during the same period. In June 2014, the official unemployment rate was 6.2% compared to the shadow unemployment rate of 11.44%.  Changes in labor force participation rates and an increasing share of workers accepting part-time work while seeking full-time jobs accounts for some of the differences between the reported and shadow unemployment rate.

----Among all MSAs Chicago is leading the recovery effort towards its previous employment peak (70.81% recovery) , followed by Kankakee (51. 81% recovery) more (Released: 7-30-2014)


- IL Job Report - July:

----Illinois reversed its trend of decline since March 2014 and posted the second greatest employment growth this year (0.10%) by gaining 6,000 jobs in June 2014. The Nation added 298,000 jobs at a rate of 0.22%, while the Rest of Midwest added 52,200 jobs in June.

----The growth in Illinois was driven by Construction, Financial activities and Other Services - Construction had the most remarkable employment growth since 2013 November, Financial activities had the greatest since 2009 December and Other services since 2013 October.However, the Leisure and Hospitality sector in Illinois had the most severe decline since 2010.

----The nation has recovered from the recession and added 445,000 jobs since the last employment peak in December 2007 However, for RMW and Illinois, they have not yet recovered from their respective peaks in 2000.

----At the national level, Other Services declined for the first time since 2013 December, and this sector was the only one that lost jobs in June 2014. Meanwhile, Information had the greatest growth since 2013 September. . more (Released: 7-30-2014)


- MSA Job Report -July: 

----The average growth rate for Illinois in 2014 is -0.04%, while those for the Rest of Midwest and the nation are 0.10% and 0.17% respectively.

----Illinois Rural area shed 1,100 jobs at -0.23% in June 2014, while Metro added 7,100 jobs at 0.17%. Chicago Upstate gained 7,100 jobs at 0.17% compared to Downstate shedding 1,100 jobs at -0.07%.

----Six out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul had the best growth performance (0.69%) among all MSAs last month, while Rockford (-0.23%) and Kankakee (-0.68%) were the two lowest.

----Springfield has stayed on top of the 12-month growth table for 3 successive months, while Bloomington-Normal has remained in the last place since January 2014.

----In five out of nine MSAs, Information is forecasted to have the lowest growth rate among all sectors in the next 12 months. In contrast, Professional & business services is forecast to have the highest growth rate in five out of nine MSAs. more (Released: 7-30-2014)


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - June: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 108.7 in June from 103.1 in May. The rise is attributed to an increase in job growth in construction and nonmanufacturing in the Chicago area. more (Released: 08-18-2014)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast - July: According to the one-year-ahead forecast, MSA Bloomington, Champaign, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield are likely to perform better than Chicago while MSA Decatur and Kankakee are likely to perform worse than Chicago. more (Released: 07-15-2013)

- 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 2013

The venue and time:
Mondays, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:

25th Aug

Zengkai Zhang "Tax Incidence and Carbon Leakage under Non-homothetic Preferences "

List of past seminars



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