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 -February:

----The recovery rates since the beginning of the recession for the Nation, RMW and Illinois are 128.63%, 98.88% and 78.16% respectively in January 2015. 

----The data adjustment has changed the historical recovery rates. Based on latest data, Springfield had recovered from the recession as early as 2014 May.  The recovery progresses of other MSAs are also greater using adjusted data than the older data. For example, Chicago recovery progress was 92.23% in November 2014, compared to 79.93% before data adjustment.

----By 2014 December, two MSAs have recovered from the recent recession: Kankakee and Springfield. The recovery rate of Chicago is 95.56%

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience a growth between 50,100 and 54,400. Every sector is predicted to grow except Information, and the greatest size growth would happen for Education& health (20,800 more jobs). more (Released: 2-30-2015) 


- IL Job Report -February:

----At the beginning of 2015, BLS has adjusted the historical estimates of monthly employment data. As a result, the Illinois monthly total non-farm Employment Growth Rates for 2014 are significantly different than before adjustment. 

----In January, Illinois had the first decline since January 2014. By 2015 January, Illinois has a net loss of 88,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. Given the recent trends and taking the shadow unemployment rate into account, Illinois is most likely to recover its prior peak (November 2000) in less than five years.

---RMW had the most significant job growth since 2013 February.

----In Illinois, Professional & business services lost the greatest number of jobs in January (-5,500 less jobs at -0.60%), while Leisure & hospitality gained the most (3,300 more jobs at 0.59%). Percentage-wise, Construction declined the most (-1.19%) while Financial Activities increased the most (0.08%).

----At the national level, Construction and Education have remained among the top three job-contributing sectors for respectively two and three consecutive months.

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts for Illinois show that the future recovery rates will increase for every sector except Information.

more(Released: 2-30-2015)


- MSA Job Report - February: 

----Illinois Rural had 17,600 less jobs than last month while Illinois Metro had 10,500 more jobs, resulting in an aggregate 7,100-job loss of Illinois.

----In January 2015, every MSA had better growth performance than Illinois except Decatur and Kankakee. In addition, every MSA except Decatur and Springfield has a positive 12-month ahead forecast. 

----The most remarkable upward move in January was recorded for Peoria (10th to 1st). On the other hand, since July 2014 Champaign –Urbana has remained in the first place on the 12-month growth performance table.

----Bloomington-Normal had the firs employment growth after a four- month decline.

----The major geographic divisions, Chicago-Downstate and Metro-Rural had mixed growth performances. Chicago Upstate added 7,800 jobs at 0.20%, where Professional & business services had the greatest job growth among all sectors (4,100 more jobs). Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 11.02% - the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -3.44%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 0.28% job gain (11,200 more jobs). The greatest growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (2.69%) but the greatest decline would be in Financial activities (-1.40%).

more(Released: 2-30-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - January: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 100.0 in January from 92.9 in December. The rise is attributed to positive job growth in the nonmanufacturing and construction sectors and to improved retail activities in the Chicago area. more (Released: 03-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast - February: According to the forecast for December 2015, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (moreReleased: 2-15-2015)

- 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:

9th March

Esteban Lopez "House Prices and School Choice: Evidence from Chicago’s Magnet Schools Proximity Lottery"

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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