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


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 -September:

----Chicago’s employment in July 2015 was 108.47% compared to its pre-recession level. This recovery effort is followed by Springfield (129.16%) and Kankakee (101.66%).

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment growth between 4,900 and 14,700. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (14,100 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (15,600 less jobs).

----Given Illinois’ economic performance of late, recovery to the prior peak (adjusted for changes in labor force participation and population growth) within five years would seem feasible. 

more (Released: 9-29-2015) 


- IL Job Report -September:

----Illinois lost 900 jobs in August 2015, compared with an 800 job loss in July 2015. The nation added 173,000 jobs while the RMW added 29,800 jobs.

----At the national level, Education & health services have remained among the top three job contributors for eight months. However, Other services (4000 fewer jobs), Information (7000 fewer jobs) and Manufacturing (17000 fewer jobs) declined from last month.

---- To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000 within five years, Illinois needs to add 48,700 jobs annually.  Given an annual growth of 57,000 jobs in 2013 and 66800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

----In Illinois, Manufacturing lost the greatest number of jobs in August (2,200 less jobs at -0.38%), while Financial activities gained the most (2,600 more jobs at 0.70%). Percentage-wise, Construction slowed down the most (1.10% to -0.90%) while Other Services grew the most (-0.40% to 0.72%).

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will increase for every sector except Manufacturing, Information and Other Services.

----In August two sectors in Illinois have lower employment levels than December, 2009, when the national recovery from recession resumed - Information and Other Services respectively have 6,900 and 4,700 fewer jobs.

----Shadow unemployment rates fell relative to last month. The nation now is 10.92% down from 10.96%, RMW is 11.47% from 11.50%, while Illinois is 10.67% down from 10.85%.

more(Released: 9-29-2015)


- MSA Job Report - September: 

----Illinois Rural experienced the greatest monthly increase since July 2005. It added 16,700 jobs at 2.27% this month, compared to a revised 6,500 job loss in July 2015. In contrast, Illinois Metro had the greatest monthly decline since July 2010. It lost 17,600 jobs at -0.34% in August compared to a revised 5,700 job gain in the previous month. Four out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 900-job loss in Illinois statewide was driven majorly by decrease in the metro areas. 

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in August was recorded for Rockford (8th to 3rd). Additionally, Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul remained at the top of the 12-month growth performance table.  

----In August, Chicago Upstate lost 14,500 jobs at -0.36%.  Now it has an employment level the same as December 2007 when the recent recession began. Professional & business services had the greatest monthly job-loss among all sectors (8,600 less jobs), while Financial Activities was the only sector that expanded (1,300 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 10.94%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -2.72%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.17% job gain by August 2016 (47,100 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (30,000 more jobs at 4.02%) but the greatest decline would be for Manufacturing (4,200 less jobs at -1.26%).

----Among other MSAs, Decatur was the least impacted by the decline in urban areas, by showing an increase at 0.29%. This is because of the large share of rural jobs in Decatur’s labor market.

more(Released: 9-29-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - July: The CBAI increased to 98.2 in July from 97.4 in June. The rise is attributed to the job growth in the manufacturing, nonmanufacturing and construction sectors in the Chicago area..  more (Released: 09-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -September: According to the forecast for July 2016, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Peoria, Rockford and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 9-25-2015)

- 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 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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