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 - June:

---- By May 2016, Chicago has recovered 376,400 jobs, or 133.97% to all the jobs it lost during the recession.

---- The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment increase between 25,900 and 36,600. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Professional & business services (26,900 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (5,900 less jobs). 

---- The state of Illinois now has a net gain of 19,600 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: 6-29-2016) 


- IL Job Report -June:

----  Illinois has recovered from the 2007 recession in terms of the number of total nonfarm jobs. It now has 19,600 more jobs than in December 2007.

---- The nation only added 38,000 jobs at 0.03% in May. This was the smallest monthly job growth since December 2013 . Declines in four sectors, namely Other services (1,000 less jobs), Information (34,000 less jobs), Manufacturing (10,000 less jobs) and Construction (15,000 less jobs), are the main reasons. The Information sector had the greatest decline at the national level since August 2011.

----Construction and Manufacturing declined at all three levels (Illinois, RMW and nation) in May.

---- Rest of Midwest (RMW) had the first monthly decline since September 2015. Its construction sector experienced the greatest monthly decline since April 2013 at -1.27% of 10,400 less jobs.

---- At the national level, the greatest job-gain sectors are Leisure & hospitality (11,000 more jobs), Government (13,000 more jobs) and Education & health (67,000 more jobs).

----The 12-month-ahead job forecasts for Illinois show that the employment growth will occur in Construction (2,400 more jobs), Professional & business services (26,900 more jobs), Education & health (12,300 more jobs) and Leisure & hospitality (5,900 more jobs).

----illinois’s official unemployment rate in April was 6.4%, while its shadow unemployment rate was 9.05%. To bring the two rates together, in other words bringing down shadow unemployment rate to 6.4%, another 181,400 jobs need to be created.

more (Released: 6-29-2016)


- MSA Job Report - June: 

----Illinois Rural area added 1,100 jobs at 0.15% this month, compared to a revised 2,300 job gain in April 2016.  In contrast, Metro lost 3,600 jobs at -0.07% in May, compared to a revised 1,700 job loss in the previous month. Only two out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 2,500-job loss in Illinois statewide was driven by decrease in the metro areas.  

---- In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in May was recorded for Davenport-Rock Island-Moline (9th to 2nd). In the 12 months growth league table, Bloomington-Normal stayed in the last place while Metro-East remained in the first place.  

----In Chicago, Professional & business services had the greatest monthly job-gain among all sectors (3,000 more jobs), while Government had the greatest decline (3,800 less jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 12.50%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.21%.

---- The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.71% job gain by May 2017 (70,000 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (40,300 more jobs at 5.31%) but the greatest decline would be for Information (1,000 less jobs at -1.29%).

more(Released: 6-29-2016) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - May: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 92.9 in May from 92.0 in April. The increase is attributed to the job growth in the nonmanufacturing sector and to the improved retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 07-18-2016)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -June: According to the forecast for April 2017, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline and Decatur are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. more (Released: 6-25-2016)

- 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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