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. 

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 -July:

----Chicago’s employment in May 2015 was 103.21% of its pre-recession level. The recovery effort is followed by Kankakee (126.68%) and Springfield (113.75%).

----If we adjust for shadow unemployment, RMW has a recession recovery rate of 42.11%, Illinois 22.90% while the nation19.82%.  Compared to the case without adjusting for shadow unemployment, the nation’s recovery rate becomes significantly higher.

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment growth between 26,600 and 44,200. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Professional & business services (23,100 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (5,800 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: 7-29-2015) 


- IL Job Report -June:

----Illinois shed 7,500 jobs in June 2015, compared with a 7,400 job gain in May 2015. The nation added 223,000 jobs while the RMW added 11,100 jobs.

----At the national level, Education & health services have remained among the top three job contributors for six months. Two sectors did not have any employment changes at the national level in June: Construction and Government.

---- To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000, within five years, Illinois needs to add 52,600 jobs annually.  Given an annual growth of 57,000 jobs in 2013 and 66,800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

----In Illinois, Construction lost the greatest number of jobs in June (4,700 less jobs at -2.20%), while Trade, transportation & utilities gained the most (4,500 more jobs at 0.38%). Percentage-wise, Construction also slowed down the most (0.14% to -2.20%) while Financial Activities grew the most (-0.33% to 0.60%).

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

----In June two sectors in Illinois have lower employment levels than December, 2009, when national recovery from recession resumed - Information and Other Services respectively have 6,100 and 6,000 fewer jobs.

more(Released: 7-29-2015)


- MSA Job Report - June: 

----Illinois Rural area shed 15,900 jobs at -2.12% in June, compared to a revised 900 job loss in May 2015.  At the same time, Metro added 8,400 jobs at 0.16% in June, compared to a revised 8,300 job gain in the previous month. Seven out of ten MSAs registered positive job growth. Consequently, the 7,500-job decrease in Illinois statewide was driven primarily by decreases in the rural areas. In fact, Illinois Rural experienced the greatest monthly decline since 2000. 

----Metro-East and Bloomington-Normal had notable performances recently. They stayed as the 1st and 2nd respectively on the monthly growth table for two consecutive months.  

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move was recorded for Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul (10th to 3rd). Additionally, Metro-East has replaced Kankakee to be the top of the 12-month growth performance table.

----In June, Chicago Upstate added 4,600 jobs at 0.11%. Trade, transportation & utilities had the greatest job growth among all sectors (3,200 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 11.59%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.14%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 0.85% job gain by June 2016 (34,300 more jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (20,200 more jobs at 2.68%) but the greatest decline would be for Manufacturing (9,200 less jobs at -2.73%).

more(Released: 7-29-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) -June: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) to 97.3 in June from 93.2 in May. The rise is attributed to the job growth in the nonmanufacturing sector and to improved retail activities in the Chicago area.  more (Released: 08-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -June: According to the forecast for April 2016, Champaign-Urbana, Davenport, 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: 6-25-2015)

- 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 - Fall 2015

The venue and time:
Mondays, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:



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