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


In memory of

Distinguished Research Professor Michael Sonis (1936-2016)



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]

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 -April:

----By February 2016, Chicago has recovered 368,500 jobs, or 131.17% to all the jobs it lost during the recession.

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment increase between 46,900 and 82,100. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (18,800 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (3,900 less jobs).

----The state of Illinois now has a net gain of 23,800 jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. Given Illinois’ economic performance of late, recovery to the prior peak (adjusted for changes in labor force participation and population growth) recorded in 2000 within five years would seem feasible. 

more (Released: 4-29-2016) 


- IL Job Report -April:

----Illinois has recovered from the 2007 recession in terms of the number of total nonfarm jobs. It now has 23,800 more jobs than in December 2007.

----The Manufacturing sector lost 29,000 jobs nation-wide, 7,400 jobs in RMW and 3,100 jobs in Illinois. The nation-wide loss was the greatest since December 2009.

----The Professional & business services sector lost 1,400 jobs in Illinois, but experienced the greatest monthly gain in RMW (14,100 more jobs) since October 2015. At the national level it added 33,000 jobs.

----At the national level, the greatest job-gain sectors are the same as last month namely Leisure & hospitality (40,000 more jobs), Trade, transportation & utilities (51,000 more jobs) and Education & health (51,000 more jobs).

----The 12-month-ahead job forecasts for Illinois show that the employment growth will occur in Construction (5,900 more jobs), Trade, transportation & utilities (8,400 more jobs), Financial Activities (4,400 more jobs), Professional & business services (9,700 more jobs), Education & health (18,800 more jobs), Leisure & hospitality (10,800 more jobs) & Other Services (1,700 more jobs) and Government (2,600 more jobs).

more (Released: 4-29-2016)


- MSA Job Report - April: 

----Illinois Rural area added 6,500 jobs at 0.90% this month, compared to a revised 3,900 job gain in February 2016.  In contrast, Metro gained 8,200 jobs at 0.15% in March, compared to a revised 14,700 job gain in the previous month. Six out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 14,700-job gain in Illinois statewide was driven by increase in the metro areas.  

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in March was recorded for Rockford (10th to 3rd). In the 12 months growth league table, Bloomington-Normal stayed in the last place while Metro-East remained in the first place.  

----In Chicago, Trade, transportation & utilities had the greatest monthly job-gain among all sectors (4,100 more jobs), while Other Services had the greatest decline (1,300 less jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 12.85%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -3.70%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.32% job gain by March 2017 (54,100 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (15,100 more jobs at 2.01%) but the greatest decline would be for Manufacturing (1,100 less jobs at -0.33%).

more(Released: 4-29-2016) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - March: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 97.2 in March from 94.7 in February. The increase is attributed to the job growth in the nonmanufacturing and construction sectors and to the improved retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 05-18-2016)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -April: According to the forecast for February 2017, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Decatur, Rockford and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. more (Released: 4-25-2016)

- 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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