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!: Check the latest work of current resaerchers at REAL here

Monitoring the Economy


- Illinois Economic Review Report -April:

----Although the 12-month employment forecast for Illinois is positive, the predicted growth is small and there is only a slight chance that Illinois employment would exceed 5,900,000 by March 2015.

----In February 2014, all MSAs have positive 12-month employment forecasts (for February 2015) except Bloomington-Normal.

----By March 2014, the nation had recovered 95.54% of the jobs lost from the recession, while RMW recovered 74.77% and Illinois recovered 57.07%. In addition, Chicago is the only MSA in Illinois that have recovered more than 50% from the recession (69.12%). more (Released: 4-30-2014)


- IL Job Report - April:

----Through March, Illinois has not yet recovered from its employment decline at the beginning of 2014, while the Rest of Midwest in March posted the most significant growth this year.

----Although Illinois lost jobs in March, its shadow unemployment rate dropped below 12% for the first time since March 2013. The nation posted the lowest shadow unemployment rate since September 2009, while RMW posted its lowest since February 2009.

----In Illinois, the Construction sector experienced the greatest decline since July 2010, while Information had the greatest growth since June 2008. In addition, it is predicted that by March 2015 Illinois will add twice the number of Leisure & hospitality jobs it lost during the 2007 recession. more (Released: 4-30-2014)


- MSA Job Report -April: 

----Since November 2013, Champaign-Urbana had been the MSA with the lowest average monthly growth rate after the recovery from the 2007 recession resumed in January 2010. However, it was replaced by Bloomington-Normal in March 2014.

----For three consecutive months Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul was among the top five MSAs in terms of monthly growth performance. In addition, it has been leading the 12-month growth performance table for two months.

----Kankakee had unstable performance since 2014 vacillating between the first and last place of the monthly growth rank table.

----Bloomington-Normal has remained in the last place of the 12-month growth table in 2014

----Chicago Upstate has been declining in 2014, together with Illinois Metro. In February, Illinois still managed to post positive growth due to growth in Illinois Rural. This month however, Illinois Rural had smaller growth while Illinois Metro experienced greater decline, leaving the statewide job change negative. more (Released: 4-30-2014)


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - May: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) edged up to 102.7 in May from 102.3 in April. The rise is attributed to an increase in job growth in nonmanufacturing and construction in the Chicago area. more (Released: 07-18-2014)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast - July: According to the one-year-ahead forecast, MSA Bloomington, Champaign, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield are likely to perform better than Chicago while MSA Decatur and Kankakee are likely to perform worse than Chicago. more (Released: 07-15-2013)

- 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 2013

The venue and time:
Mondays, 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:

12th May

Linzhi Ma "Research on Development of Suburban New Town in Shanghai Metropolitan Area: A Behavioral Perspective "

Raul Silverira "Pro-poor Economic Growth in Brazilian Northeast: The Evidence for the periods 1991-2000 and 2000-2010 "

List of past seminars



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