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 - August:

----Illinois has now had positive employment growth for three consecutive months after a 2-month decline.

----The nation has recovered from the recent recession and added 654,000 additional jobs. In July, at the national level, no sector reported negative growth.

----The two sectors that contributed the most for Illinois employment growth last month were Manufacturing (up 3,900 jobs) and Professional & business services (5,900 more jobs).  In contrast, Leisure & hospitality has experienced negative employment growth for 2 months.

----Although Illinois had employment growth last month, its shadow unemployment rate went up (11.44% in July compared to 11.38% in June). Consequently, Illinois need more jobs than last month to recover to its previous employment peak. ( 625,700 this month, 621,800 last month) . more (Released: 8-30-2014)


- MSA Job Report -August: 

----In July 2014, Chicago experienced the greatest job growth since October 2013, and was the most important contributor to Illinois employment expansion (10,300 more jobs).  Employment in the Chicago Construction sector has been expanding since March 2014.  Other sectors that had major job growth in Chicago last month were Professional & business services and Manufacturing (4,600 and 2,800 more jobs respectively).

----Illinois Metro experienced the greatest employment gain since October 2013 (9,500 more jobs). Chicago downstate had positive job growth for the first time since February.

----However, only Four MSAs posted positive job growth last month. Among them, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul have had positive performance for two consecutive months. more (Released: 8-30-2014)


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - August: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) decreased to 98.7 in August from 103.0 in July. The fall is attributed to a decrease in job growth in the nonmanufacturing sector and to a fall in retail activity in the Chicago area. more (Released: 10-17-2014)

- 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:

3rd November

Débora Freire Cardoso "Social Accounting Matrices and their applications: A Financial Social Accounting Matrix (FSAM) disaggregated by Households for Brazil"

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.
Contact the Webmaster