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 - July:

----Illinois’ recovery has slowed in the last several months and forecasted growth for the next 12 months is well below prior year rates.

---- The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment increase between 11,400 and 27,300. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Professional & business services (29,900 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Trade, transportation & utilities (8,000 less jobs). 

----By June 2016, Chicago has recovered 376,400 jobs, or 134.99% to all the jobs it lost during the recession.

----The state of Illinois now has a net gain of 18,400 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: 7-29-2016) 


- IL Job Report -July:

----Illinois has recovered from the 2007 recession in terms of the number of total nonfarm jobs. It now has 18,400 more jobs than in December 200 7.

----The nation added 287,000 jobs at 0.20% in June, compared to a mere 11,000 job growth in May. Growth in four sectors, namely Leisure & hospitality (59,000 more jobs), Education & health (59,000 more jobs) and Information (44,000 more jobs) are the main reasons.

----The Information sector’s employment statistics at the national level fluctuates significantly in the past two months – it lost 39,000 jobs in May but added 44,000 jobs in June, while the monthly change in previous months is generally below 10,000.

----Rest of Midwest (RMW)’s total nonfarm employment fluctuates significantly in the past two months, and this is attributable to changes in Michigan (a 20,400 loss in May but 19,700 growth in June), Ohio (10,400 loss in May but no change in June) and Missouri (a 7,000 growth in May and 12,400 growth in June).

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will increase for every sector except Information, Other Services and Government

----The Education & health sector experienced a significant job loss (7,300 less jobs) in June.

----Illinois’s official unemployment rate in April was 6.2%, while its shadow unemployment rate was 9.34%. To bring the two rates together, in other words bringing down shadow unemployment rate to 6.2%, another 216,600 jobs need to be created.

more (Released: 7-29-2016)


- MSA Job Report - July: 

----Illinois Rural area lost 5,600 jobs at -0.76% this month, compared to a revised 2,600 job gain in May 2016.  In contrast, Metro added 3,400 jobs at 0.06% in June, compared to a revised 4,100 job loss in the previous month. Six out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 2,200-job loss in Illinois statewide was driven by decrease in the rural.  

---- In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in June was recorded for Kankakee (10th to 2nd). In the 12 months growth league table, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline dropped to the last place while Metro-East remained in the first place.  

----In Chicago, Leisure & hospitality had the greatest monthly job-gain among all sectors (3,200 more jobs), while Education & health had the greatest decline (2,800 less jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 12.43%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -2.95%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.16% job gain by June 2017 (47,700 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (36,000 more jobs at 4.73%) but the greatest decline would be for Financial Activities (4,100 less jobs at -1.49%).

more(Released: 7-29-2016) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - June: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) slightly increased to 93.7 in June from 93.6 in May. The increase is attributed to the job growth in the construction sector and to the improved retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 08-18-2016)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -June: According to the forecast for May 2017, Bloomington-Normal, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline and Peoria are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. more (Released: 7-25-2016)

- 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.











Contact the Webmaster