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Regional Economic Research Institute

The Regional Economic Research Institute (RERI) was developed to perform economic research, analysis, and forecasting for both the region and the individual economic development organizations in this area. The structure of the RERI includes partnership with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the area economic development organizations.

The director of RERI is Dr. Gary Jackson, Assistant Professor of Economics in the Lutgert College of Business.


February 27, 2015: First Quarter Lee County Business Climate Survey - Report issued
View the report

July 25, 2014: Barriers to Small Business Growth - Report issued
View the report

October 2013: Four Reports from the Workforce Now Regional Research Initiative Now Available
View the Reports

Beginning with the first quarter of 2012, RERI has issuined the Lee County Business Climate Survey Report. This quarterly report is a result of a partnership between The Horizon Council and Florida Gulf Coast University. The Horizon Council is a public-private board established in 1991 to advise the Lee County Board of Commissioners on economic development issues.

The Report summarizes the results of the Executive Business Climate Survey. It provides a view of the local economy, based on responses from senior executives of companies from a broad range of industries across the county.

In addition to this quarterly report, RERI continues to issue a monthly report: Regional Economic Indicators, which analyzes a wide range of economic data from the 5-county region of Southwest Florida. It also includes National economic data of interest. The monthly Indicators report has been issued since early 2007.

Documents most recently issued by the Institute:
(For earlier documents, see the Archive page)

Our Quarterly Report
Lee County Business Climate Survey Report, First Quarter 2015 pdf (33 pages)

Our Monthly Report:
Regional Economic Indicators, January 2015. pdf (24 pages)

Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on January 30, 2015:

It is my pleasure to provide you with the January 2015 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report. This report is provided by the Regional Economic Research Institute of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Southwest Florida and U.S. economies are showing strong growth but there are concerns that Europe, China, and Japan are experiencing slow economic growth reducing global demand for goods and services. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a major new program to purchase government bonds (Quantitative Easing) totaling 1.1 trillion Euros or approximately $1.3 trillion in U.S. dollars to begin in March 2015 and continue until June of 2016. Europe’s economy continues to show slow growth and there is a concern that deflation may create additional problems.

The fourth quarter U.S. real GDP estimate for growth of 2.6 percent indicates moderate growth. The third quarter real GDP grow more rapidly at 5.0 percent, faster than the second quarter growth rate of 4.6 percent. Rapid GDP growth along with lower unemployment rates will shorten the length of time over which the Federal Reserve can maintain historically low interest rates.

The regional economy continues to show improvement and strong growth. Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales were up nine percent ($158.1 million) in October 2014 over October 2013. Seasonally-adjusted November 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 16 percent over November 2013. Passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew by seven percent between November 2013 and November 2014, and was up by seven percent year-to-date over the first 11 months of 2013. Single-family home sales for the three coastal counties were up 16 percent in December 2014, compared to December 2013, and showed a two-percent increase for all of 2014 compared to 2013. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region declined to 5.5 percent in December 2014 from 5.7 percent in November.

The December Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 252,000 for the month, lower than the revised increase of 353,000 in November.

The national consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.8 percent from December 2013 to December 2014. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.6 percent. The closest CPI in Florida is for the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area, which saw a 1.4 percent increase from December 2013 to December 2014. National housing prices increased 4.3 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the 12 months ending November 2014.

The most recently published study:

Barriers to Small Business Growth
July 25, 2014 pdf (44 pages)
The purpose of this survey is to better understand the factors that are limiting small business growth in the greater Lee County area. This survey provides insights about key concerns and issues facing small businesses.

Many additional documents that can be reviewed and downloaded are available on the Reports and Studies page.

Links to our partner organizations are available on the Links pagae.

To request more information, see the Contact Us page.


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