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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.


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

May 22, 2014: Second Quarter Lee County Business Climate Survey - 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, Second Quarter 2014 pdf (23 pages)

Our Monthly Report:
Regional Economic Indicators, July 2014. pdf (23 pages)

Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on July 31, 2014:

It is my pleasure to provide you the July 2014 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report. This report is provided by the Regional Economic Research Institute research team at Florida Gulf Coast University.

As expected, the national economy appears to have rebounded from a negative first quarter. The advance estimate for second quarter national real GDP increased at annual rate of 4.0 percent. This increase was primarily driven by increased personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and investment. The first quarter GDP declined by 2.1 percent primarily driven by adverse weather and a reduction in investment. The real GDP growth was 2.6 percent for the fourth quarter of last year. Second quarter real personal consumption expenditures increased by 2.5 percent.

The regional economy is showing moderate growth as well as we continue the recovery. Seasonally-adjusted taxable sales in the region were up 11 percent ($172.8 million) in April 2014 over April 2013. Seasonally-adjusted May 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 15 percent over May 2013. Passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew to 739,569 in May 2014, up five percent over May 2013.

Unemployment rates have slowly decreased since the recovery began in 2010. Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates for June 2014 dipped to 5.8 percent in Lee County, 5.4 percent in Collier County, and 5.9 percent in Charlotte County. Hendry County had an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, while the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in Glades County, and 6.2 percent for Florida. The national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent and the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) declined to 3.1 million, which is 32.8 percent of all unemployed.

The June Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 for the month, higher than the revised increase of 224,000 in May.

The national consumer price index increased by 2.1 percent from June 2013 to June 2014. National housing prices increased 9.3 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the 12 months ending May 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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