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 -October:

----Chicago’s employment in August 2015 was 102.46% compared to its pre-recession level. This recovery effort is followed by Springfield (62.46%) and Kankakee (62.28%).

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment decline between 8,300 and 31,500. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (11,000 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Manufacturing (19,600 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. 

----Starting October 2015, the Illinois Economic Review reports will feature downstate MSA business indices as an indicator of local business climate.

more (Released: 10-29-2015) 


- IL Job Report -October:

----Illinois lost 6,900 jobs in September 2015, compared with a 5,200 job loss in August 2015. The nation added 142,000 jobs while the RMW lost 39,700 jobs.

----RMW experienced the greatest monthly decline since July 2009 in September, and major job losses in the Government sector (31,600 fewer jobs) and the Professional & business services sector (17,200 fewer jobs) were major contributors. The states that lost the most government jobs were Indiana (10,700 loss), Missouri (13,400 loss) and Ohio (14,000 loss). The states that lost the most Professional & business services jobs were Michigan (55,000 loss), Missouri (57,000 loss) and Wisconsin (36,000 loss).

---- At the national level, Education & health services have remained among the top three job contributors for nine months. The other two are Professional & business services (31,000 more jobs at 0.16%) and Leisure & hospitality (35,000 more jobs at 0.23%). The only sector that lost jobs at the national level was Manufacturing (9,000 fewer jobs at -0.07%).

----To recover to its previous employment peak, Nov-2000 within five years, Illinois needs to add 48,300 jobs annually.  Given an annual growth of 57,000 jobs in 2013 and 66,800 jobs in 2014, this is feasible.

----In Illinois, Trade, transportation & utilities lost the greatest number of jobs in September (6,400 less jobs at -0.54%), while Government gained the most (2,100 more jobs at 0.25%). Percentage-wise, Financial Services slowed down the most (0.49% to -0.46%) while Information grew the most (-0.81% to 0.62%).

----The 12-month-ahead job recovery forecasts show that the future recovery rates in Illinois will decrease for every sector except Construction, Professional & business services and Leisure & hospitality.

----In September two sectors in Illinois have lower employment levels than December, 2009, when the national recovery from recession resumed - Information and Other Services respectively have 6,300 and 4,100 fewer jobs.

----In terms of shadow unemployment rates, the nation now is 11.14% up from 10.92%, RMW is 11.34% down from 11.47%, while Illinois is 10.47% down from 10.67%

more(Released: 10-29-2015)


- MSA Job Report - October: 

---Illinois Rural shed 7,200 jobs at -0.96% this month, compared to a revised 14,400 job gain in August 2015. In contrast, Illinois Metro added 300 jobs at 0.01% in September compared to a revised 19,600 job loss in August. Five out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 6,900-job loss in Illinois statewide was driven mainly by the decrease in the rural areas

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in September was recorded for Kankakee (10th to 1st). Additionall, Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul remained at the top of the 12-month growth performance table while Davenport-Rock Island-Moline remains last.  

----In September, Chicago Upstate lost 900 jobs at -0.02%.  Now it has an employment level roughly the same as December 2007 when the recent recession began. Transportation, trade & utilities had the greatest monthly job-loss among all sectors (3,800 less jobs), while Professional & business services had the greatest growth (4,500 more jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 10.66%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Decatur has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -3.14%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.51% job gain by September 2016 (60,900 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Professional & business services (29,500 more jobs at 3.92%) but the greatest decline would be for Manufacturing (2,400 less jobs at -0.73%).

more(Released: 10-29-2015) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - September: The CBAI decreased to to 96.1 in September from 99.3 in August. The fall is attributed to the negative job growth in the construction sector in the Chicago area. more (Released: 11-18-2015)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -October: According to the forecast for August 2016, Bloomington-Normal, 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: 10-25-2015)

- 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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