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 -June:

----Chicago’s employment in April 2015 was 101.90% to its pre-recession level. The recovery effort is followed by Kankakee (126.21%) and Springfield (130.12%). 

----If we adjust for shadow unemployment, RMW has a recession recovery rate of 45.52%, Illinois 23% but the nation only 21.59%.  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 68,800 and 74,300. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Professional & business services (44,100 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (14,100 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: 6-30-2015) 


- IL Job Report -June:

----Illinois added 9,200 jobs in May 2015, compared with a 5,400 job gain in April 2015. The nation added 280,000 jobs while the RMW added 17500 jobs. 

----At the national level, Education & health services have remained among the top three job contributors for five months. The Information sector declined at all three levels of nation, RMW and Illinois.

---To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000 within five years, Illinois needs to add 50,600 jobs annually.  Given an annual growth of 57,000 jobs in 2013 and 66800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

----In Illinois, Manufacturing lost the greatest number of jobs in May (2,500 less jobs at -0.43%), while Professional & business services gained the most (6,900 more jobs at 0.74%). Percentage-wise, however, Professional & business services slowed down the most (0.94% to 0.74%) but Leisure & hospitality grew the most (0.04% to 0.59%).

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

----Financial activities in Illinois have been losing jobs for four consecutive months. It now has an employment level even below 2009 December when recovery happened nation-wide

more(Released: 6-25-2015)


- MSA Job Report - May: 

----Illinois Rural area added 2,200 jobs at 0.29% in May, compared to a revised 7,200 job gain in April 2015.  At the same time, Metro added 7,000 jobs at 0.14% in May, compared to a revised 1,800 job loss in the previous month.  Consequently, the 9,200-job increase in Illinois statewide was driven majorly by increases in the metro areas.

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move was recorded for Metro-East (10th to 1st). Additionally, Kankakee has remained on top of the 12-month growth performance table for three months. 

----In May, Chicago Upstate added 3,700 jobs at 0.09%. Leisure & hospitality had the greatest job growth among all sectors (2,500 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 11.53%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.58%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 0.92% job gain by May 2016 (37,200 more jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (21,700 more jobs at 2.89%) but the greatest decline would be for Manufacturing (5,100 less jobs at -1.51%).

more(Released: 6-25-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - April: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) decreased to 93.3 in April from 96.0 in March. The fall is attributed to negative job growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors and to a decline in retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 06-18-2015)

- 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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