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 -April:

----Chicago has fully recovered from the recession by February 2015. Its employment now is 101.07% of pre-recession level. Kankakee is 119.06% and Springfield 123.42%. 

----If we adjust for shadow unemployment, RMW has a recession recovery rate of 47.54%, the Illinois 24.61% but the nation only 19.43%.  Compared to the case without shadow unemployment adjustment, the nation’s recovery rate becomes significantly lower.

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment growth between 57,900 and 66,000. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (19,100 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Financial Activities (2,100 less jobs).

more (Released: 4-30-2015) 


- IL Job Report -April:

----Illinois, the RMW and the nation all had pooer growth performances in March. The nation and RMW both had the lowest monthly job growth since 2014 January (a 126,000 growth for the nation and a 12,500 decline for the RMW in March), while Illinois shed 1,800 jobs after a 14,900 gain in February. . 

----To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000 within five years, Illinois needs to add 51600 jobs annually. Given an annual growth of 57000 jobs in 2013 and 66800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

---At the national level, the sectors Education & health and Trade, transportation & utilities have remained among the top three performers for three and five  months, respectively. However, three sectors, Government, Manufacturing and Construction, lost jobs at the national level in March. Before that, no sectors lost any jobs since October 2014.

----In Illinois, Leisure & hospitality lost the greatest number of jobs in March (4,900 less jobs at -0.87%), while Trade, transportation & utilities (TTU) gained the most (4,200 more jobs at 0.35%). TTU was also the greatest job contributor last month. Percentage-wise, Leisure & hospitality declined the most monthly (0.48% to -0.87%) while Information increased the most (-0.30% to 0.30%). Additionally, Government grew for the first time after a four-month decline.

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will increase for every sector except Manufacturing, Information and Financial Services. The greatest job growth is likely to happen in the Education & health sector (19,100 more jobs), while greatest decline is forecast in the Financial Activities sector (2,100 fewer jobs).

more(Released: 4-25-2015)


- MSA Job Report - March: 

----Illinois Rural area shed 1,800 jobs at -0.24% this month, compared to a revised 8,200 job gain in February 2015.  At the same time, Metro’s employment level did not change. Consequently, the 1,800 job decline in Illinois statewide is completely driven by decline in its rural areas.

----The most remarkable upward move in March was recorded for Peoria (9th to 2nd), while Kankakee has remained on top of the monthly league table for two consecutive months. Additionally, Kankakee has replaced Champaign-Urbana to be on top of the 12-month growth performance table. Champaign-Urbana declined for the first time since July 2014. 

----In March, Chicago Upstate added 300 jobs at 0.01%, which is the smallest addition since November 2014. Education & health had the greatest job growth among all sectors (2,400 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 11.67%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -4.88%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.37% job gain by March 2016 (55,100 more jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (28,600 more jobs at 3.82%) but the greatest decline would be for Government (7,700 less jobs at -1.63%).

more(Released: 4-25-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - March: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) decreased to 96.3 in March from 101.6 in February. The fall is attributed to negative job growth in the manufacturing sector in the Chicago area . more (Released: 05-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -April: According to the forecast for February 2016, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Peoria, Springfield and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 4-25-2015)

- 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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