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 -March:

----The 12-month forecast of Illinois employment is positive, although the range of estimates suggest continuing challenges for the state’s economy to effect a sustained recovery.

----Through February 2014, the three MSAs that are leading the recovery progress are Chicago, Kankakee and Springfield.

----Since January 2010, when Illinois employment growth resumed. Manufacturing, Trade, transportation & utilities, Financial activities, Professional & business services and Leisure & hospitality have recovered 16.75%, 36.95%, 11.21%, 133.73% and 166.37% respectively, from the jobs lost during the recession.

----By February 2014, Professional & business services and Leisure & hospitality had both recovered to their previous employment peak levels.

----However, recovery rates for sectors such as Construction, Information and Other Services are still negative. more (Released: 3-30-2014)


- IL Job Report - March:

----Illinois added 6,400 jobs in February 2014, compared with an 18,000 job loss in January 2014. Compared to February 2013, Illinois has added 26,500 jobs.  The three-month moving average, a more stable measure of labor market, showed a decrease of 3,000 jobs per month.

----The positive job change in February for Illinois came after a large revised loss of 18,000 jobs in January.  BLS revised their estimate for jobs in Professional & business services in January 2014, with the result that the sector had positive employment growth; this sector together with Leisure & Hospitality boosted Illinois’s growth last month.

----For three consecutive months (Dec 2013 to Feb 2014) Professional and Business services remained as one of the top three job-gaining sectors at the national level. Information was the only sector that lost jobs at the national level last month.

----Transportation, trade & utilities have experienced a major decline since the beginning of 2014. The total number of jobs lost in the first two months of 2014 (18,300 jobs) is greater than the sum of all monthly changes in 2013 (13,900 jobs).

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates will increase for sectors such as Professional & business services and Leisure & hospitality.  Information & Other Services are predicted to continue to lose jobs. more (Released: 3-30-2014)


- MSA Job Report -March: 

----Chicago shed 4,300 jobs at -0.10% in February 2014, compared to a revised 1,100 job gain last month. Meanwhile, Downstate added 10,700 jobs at 0.66%, compared to a revised 19,100 job loss in January 2014.

----Decline in the Transportation, trade & utilities sector in Chicago was the main driver of the state-wide decline of this sector last month - Chicago TTU lost 5,400 jobs while Illinois lost 6,100 jobs.

----Professional & business services had major performance gains in most MSAs last month. In six out of ten MSAs  it registered the highest 12-month forecast growth rate.

----Illinois Metro performance turned negative in February after positive growth in January 2014.  Four out of ten MSAs posted positive growth last month, while all MSAs had positive growth In January.  In addition, only two out of the four had a greater monthly growth rate than Illinois as a whole. Therefore, Illinois employment increase last month was mainly accounted for by growth outside the MSAs. more (Released: 3-30-2014)

-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - January: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 102.5 in January from 100.4 in December. The increase is attributed to positive job growth in manufacturing, nonmanufacturing and construction and to the improvement of retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 03-18-2014)

- 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, 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:

14th April

Elisangela Araujo"Institutional reforms and economic performance: Some issues about Brazilian case after 1990's "

List of past seminars



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