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 -October:

----In September, Illinois added jobs at a rate almost twice that of the US; over the 12 months (September 2013-September 2014), Illinois has added 69,000 jobs but at a rate only 62% as high as the US as a whole. 

----Springfield has not only recovered but also exceeded its employment level from before recession (December 2007)

----In the 12-month ahead forecast for Illinois, the only two sectors that are predicted to decline are Manufacturing (2,500 less jobs) and Information (1,100 less jobs). Illinois is predicted to have a growth of between 59,800 and 74,600 jobs. more (Released: 10-30-2014) 


- IL Job Report - October:

----Illinois recorded the greatest growth since March 2014 (19,300 jobs gained). 

----Illinois has had positive job growth for five consecutive months. In addition, the average size of growth in the last two months was 20,000, while that of the first seven months of 2014 was -730. The greatest growth during that earlier period was only 9,400 recorded in July.

----Other Service sector in Illinois has recovered to its Jan 2010 level, when Illinois employment growth resumed.   Now only Construction and Information still have negative recovery rates. (-0.47% and -57.52%, respectively). And it is predicted that by this time next year Construction would have recovered but Information is predicted as will lose more jobs (7,600 less jobs than Jan 2010). Meanwhile, Manufacturing in Illinois had the greatest decline since April 2014 – a loss of 2,800 jobs.

----Among all sectors, Professional & business services experienced the most significant growth at the national level this month (81,000 more jobs). In September no sector lost job at the national level. The only sector that had unchanged employment was Other Services . more (Released: 10-30-2014)


- MSA Job Report -October: 

----Kankakee had the most noteworthy performance gain at 1.64% in September 2014. It has had consecutive growth for two months. .

----The major geographic divisions, Chicago-Downstate and Metro-Rural all had positive growth performance. In addition, Chicago has been growing over the last six months. 

----Bloomington-Normal has replaced Champaign-Urbana as the MSA with the lowest average growth rate since Jan 2010 (-3.48% former, -2.16 latter), when Illinois employment began to recover.

----The 12-month forecast shows that Peoria will have major growth (2,300 to 3,900 more jobs), driven by Professional & business services (6.34% predicted). more (Released: 10-30-2014) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - October: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) decreased to 101.4 in October from 103.5 in September. The fall is attributed to negative job growth in the manufacturing sector in the Chicago area. more (Released: 12-18-2014)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast - October: According to the forecast for August 2015, MSA Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Peoria and Rockford are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. more (Released: 10-15-2014)

- 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, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm.
137D Davenport Hall 
607 S. Mathews Avenue

Next Presentations:

15th December

Glaucia Possas "Analyzing Cigarette Consumption and its Determinants in Brazil"

Josue Braga "The effects of mandatory IFRS adoption on information environment: Evidence from post-E.U. adoption period"

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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