R | E | A | L

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

contact info

Geoffrey J. D. Hewings
607 S. Matthews
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 -January:

----The current recovery rate of Chicago from the last recession is 79.93%. 

----The ratio of current employment level to historical peak is 123.05% for the US, 94.07% for the RMW, and 73.30% for Illinois.

----In the 12-month forecast for Illinois, Trade, transportation & utilities (400 less jobs), Information (2,200 less jobs), Financial Activities (900 less jobs), Other Services (200 less jobs) and Government (400 less jobs) are predicted to lose jobs, but Illinois is predicted to have a growth of between 60,500 and 62,200 jobs. more (Released: 1-30-2015) 


- IL Job Report -January:

----In December 2014, Illinois experienced the greatest job growth since August 2014. 

----Construction had the most noteworthy performance in Illinois last month, (2.92% growth translating into 6,000 more jobs) among all sectors. It has recovered 11.60% from the recent recession.

---Illinois Leisure & hospitality has had an employment growth that almost doubled its loss in recession – it shed 22,300 jobs but has added 42,500 since January 2010.

----The sector Other Services had negative growth for three consecutive months in Illinois, and is predicted to lose jobs in the next 12 months.

----For 2 consecutive months, no sector recorded negative job growth at the national level.

----The 12-month-ahead job forecasts show that the employment growth will occur in Construction (10,800 more jobs), Manufacturing (33,300 more jobs), Professional & business services (12,000 more jobs), Education & health (13,900 more jobs), and Leisure & hospitality (4,300 more jobs). more (Released: 1-30-2015)


- MSA Job Report -January: 

----The most remarkable upward move in December was recorded for Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul (8th to 1st). Since July 2014, Champaign –Urbana has remained in the first place on the 12-month growth performance table.

----Six out of ten MSAs posted positive growth, compared to only three out of ten last month. 

----Bloomington-Normal has been declining for four consecutive months.

----The major geographic divisions, Chicago-Downstate and Metro-Rural all had positive growth performance. Chicago Upstate added 5,800 jobs at 0.14%, where Construction (1,500 more jobs) had the highest growth among all sectors. Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 10.50% - the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.81%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a -0.47% job loss (19,700 less jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Construction (2.72%) but the greatest decline would be in Information (-1.30%). The forecasts also show that Rockford will have major growth (1,300 to 1,800 more jobs) compared to other MSAs. more (Released: 1-30-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - December: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) decreased to 89.9 in December from 92.5 in November. The fall is attributed to negative job growth in the construction sector in the Chicago area. more (Released: 02-20-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast - January: According to the forecast for November 2015, Bloomington, Davenport, Decatur, Peoria and Rockford are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 1-15-2015)

- 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 - Spring 2015

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

Next Presentations:

23rd February

Andrew Crawley "Estimate or Calibrate: A Theoretical and Practical Exploration for Computable General Equilibrium Analysis and Econometric Input Output"

List of past seminars



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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