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


In memory of

Distinguished Research Professor Michael Sonis (1936-2016)



NEW!:The First China-REAL Meeting (CREAL 2016),January 14-January 15, 2016, Beijing, China.For further information, contact:  Dr. Xiuli Liu: xiuli.liu@amss.ac.cn [more]

NEW!:REAL Poster Session 2014 [Dec. 11th, 2014]

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 -March:

----By February 2016, Chicago has recovered 354,000 jobs, or 126% to all the jobs it lost during the recession.

----The 12-month forecast shows that Illinois is likely to experience an employment increase between 14,200 and 40,800. The greatest increase is likely to occur in Education & health (13,900 more jobs), while the largest decline would happen for Trade, transportation & utilities (7,500 less jobs).

----The state of Illinois now has a net gain of 8,600 jobs since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. Given Illinois’ economic performance of late, recovery to the prior peak (adjusted for changes in labor force participation and population growth) recorded in 2000 within five years would seem feasible. 

more (Released: 3-29-2016) 


- IL Job Report -March:

----There is a significant revision of Illinois total nonfarm employment data for January 2016. It has been adjusted from 5,967,000 to 5,975,700 jobs.

----Illinois has recovered from the 2007 recession in terms of the number of total nonfarm jobs. It now has 8,600 more jobs than in December 2007.

----The Manufacturing sector lost 11,400 jobs in RMW and 16,000 jobs at the national level. But it added 3,500 jobs in Illinois.

----Trade, transportation & utilities added 18,500 jobs at RMW level. This is the most significant gain since the 2007 recession.

----Education & health services added 86,000 jobs and 13,500 jobs respectively at the national level and RMW, while it lost 2,000 in Illinois.

----The Government sector lost jobs at all three levels last month, but this month it gained jobs at all three levels.

----At the national level, the greatest job-gain sectors are the same as last month namely Leisure & hospitality (48,000 more jobs), Trade, transportation & utilities (53,000 more jobs) and Education & health (86,000 more jobs).

----The 12-month-ahead job forecasts for Illinois show that the employment growth will occur in Construction (3,200 more jobs), Manufacturing (8,400 more jobs), Professional & business services (5,900 more jobs), Education & health (13,900 more jobs), Leisure & hospitality (6,900 more jobs) & Other Services (300 more jobs).

more (Released: 3-29-2016)


- MSA Job Report - March: 

----Illinois Rural area added 2,600 jobs at 0.36% in February 2016, compared to a revised 23,100 job loss in January 2016.  In contrast, Metro gained 15,500 jobs at 0.30% in February, compared to a revised 24,600 job gain in the previous month. Five out of ten MSAs posted positive growth. Consequently, the 18,100-job gain in Illinois statewide was driven by increase in the metro areas

----In the monthly MSA growth league table, the most remarkable upward move in February was recorded for Kankakee (8th to 1st). In the 12 months growth league table, Bloomington-Normal stayed in the last place while Metro-East remained in the first place.  

----In Chicago, Trade, transportation & utilities had the greatest monthly job-gain among all sectors (5,600 more jobs), while Education & health services had the greatest decline (600 less jobs).  Since the job recovery resumed in Jan 2010 in Illinois, Chicago Upstate has shown an average growth rate of 12.78%, which is the highest among all the IL MSAs; Bloomington-Normal has experienced the lowest average growth rate, -3.50%.

----The 12-month forecasts show that Chicago is likely to experience a 1.69% job gain by February 2017 (69,200 more jobs). The greatest 12-month growth in Chicago is likely to happen for Leisure & hospitalities (17,700 more jobs at 4.34%) but the greatest decline would be for Financial Activities (3,600 less jobs at -1.32%).

more(Released: 3-29-2016) 


-The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) - February: The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) increased to 95.5 in February from 94.8 in January. The increase is attributed to the job growth in the nonmanufacturing sector and to the improved retail activities in the Chicago area.  more (Released: 04-18-2016)

- MSA Business Index and Forecast -January: According to the forecast for November 2016, Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Decatur, Peoria, and Kankakee are likely to perform less well over this period than Chicago.  All the other MSAs will compare favorably to Chicago. (more Released: 1-25-2016)

- 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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