R | E | A | L

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

contact info

Geoffrey J. D. Hewings
607 S. Mathews,
Room 318, M/C 151
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. 

REAL Seminar Series - Fall 2015

The venue and time:
Wednesday, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Calendar of presentations


NEW!:The First China-REAL Meeting (CREAL 2016),January 14-January 15, 2016, Beijing, China.For further information, contact:  Dr. Xiuli Liu: xiuli.liu@amss.ac.cn [more]

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 -January:

----Chicago’s employment in November 2015 was 107.40% compared to its pre-recession level. This recovery effort was joined by Springfield (279.14%) and Kankakee (102.87%). .

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment decline between 45,200 and 11,200. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (13,000 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Trade, transportation & utilities (32,100 less jobs).

----Given Illinois’ economic performance of late, recovery to the prior peak (adjusted for changes in labor force participation and population growth) within five years would seem feasible. 

more (Released: 1-29-2016) 


- IL Job Report -January:

----In December 2015 the nation added 292,000 jobs, the RMW added 27,100 jobs, but Illinois lost 16,300 jobs. Given an adjusted 6,500 job-loss last month, Illinois has declined for two consecutive months.   Additionally, Illinois had fewer jobs than 12-month ago – a situation that has not happened since 2010 July.

----At the national level, Education & health services have remained among the top three job contributors for twelve months. The other two contributors of this month are Professional & business services (73,000 more jobs at 0.37%) and Construction (45,000 more jobs at 0.69%). No sector lost jobs at the national level in December.

----To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000 within five years, Illinois needs to add 46,200 jobs annually.  Given an annual growth of 57,000 jobs in 2013 and 66,800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

----In Illinois, Trade, transportation & utilities lost the greatest number of jobs in December (12,100 less jobs at -1.02%), while Construction gained the most (6,700 more jobs at 3.22%). Percentage-wise, Information slowed down the most (0.20% to -2.15%) while Construction grew the most (-1.14% to 3.22%).

----The Construction sector experienced the greatest monthly growth in Illinois since January 2013, while the Information sector in Illinois experienced the greatest monthly decline ever. Meanwhile, the Trade, transportation & utilities sector in Illinois lost 12,100 jobs – a scale that was not even seen during the 2008 recession. The Professional & business services sector had lost jobs continuously for three months - the longest since June 2009.

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will decrease for every sector except Construction and Leisure & hospitality.

----In December the two sectors in Illinois that lost jobs during the 2007 recession, and currently having a lower employment level than December 2009 (when the national recovery from recession resumed) are Information (8,700 fewer jobs) and Other Services (1,700 fewer jobs). Meanwhile, although the Government sector did not lose jobs during the recession thus is not under “recovery”, it has 25,700 fewer jobs than in December 2009.

----In terms of shadow unemployment rates, the nation now is 10.68% down from 10.95%, RMW is 10.53% down from 10.84%, while Illinois is 10.24% up from 10.19%.

more (Released: 1-29-2016)


- MSA Job Report - January: 

----Illinois Rural lost 9,600 jobs at -1.30% this month, compared to a revised 2,100 job gain in November 2015.  In contrast, Illinois Metro lost 6,800 jobs at -0.13% in December, compared to a revised 8,600 job loss in November. Only three out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 16,300-job loss in Illinois statewide was driven by decreases in both the metro and rural areas

---- In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in December was recorded for Kankakee (10th to 1st). In the 12 months growth league table, Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul remained in the first place while Davenport-Rock Island-Moline remains last.  

----Chicago has lost jobs for two consecutive months - In December, it lost 4,200 jobs at -0.10% compared to a revised 8,700 job loss in November.  Construction had the greatest monthly job-loss among all sectors (9,300 less jobs), while Transportation, trade & utilities had the greatest growth (17,500 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 10.46%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.16%.

----Chicago differed from Illinois in terms of employment dynamics in December for two sectors. Construction was the greatest job-contributor to Illinois but the greatest job-shedder in Chicago, 6,700 more jobs and 9,300 fewer jobs respectively. In contrast, Transportation, trade & utilities was the greatest job-contributor to Chicago yet the greatest job-shedder in Illinois, respectively 17,500 more jobs and 12,100 fewer jobs.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a -0.49% job loss by December 2016 (19,800 fewer jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Transportation, trade & utilities (40,800 more jobs at 4.93%) but the greatest decline would be for Professional & business services (51,000 less jobs at -6.89%).

more(Released: 1-29-2016) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - November: The CBAI increased to 102.0 in November from 100.4 in October. The rise is attributed to the job growth in the nonmanufacturing sector and to the improved retail activities in the Chicago area.  more (Released: 01-18-2016)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -January: According to the forecast for November 2016, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Decatur, Peoria, and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 1-25-2016)

- 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 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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