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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.


November 21, 2014: Fourth 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, Fourth Quarter 2014 pdf (24 pages)

Our Monthly Report:
Regional Economic Indicators, December 2014. pdf (24 pages)

Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on December 30, 2014:

It is my pleasure to provide you the November 2014 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report. This report is provided by the Regional Economic Research Institute of Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Southwest Florida and the U.S. economies continue to show moderate growth. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has discontinued its program of additional purchases of mortgage-backed and treasury securities but will continue to reinvest the principal payments and roll over maturing Treasury securities at auction. China and Europe are experiencing slower growth, creating uncertainty and lowering global oil demand.

The third quarter national real GDP estimate for growth was revised upward to a high growth rate of 3.9 percent but lower than the second quarter’s faster growth rate of 4.6 percent. The third quarter increase reflects higher personal consumption expenditures, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and government spending. First quarter 2014 GDP declined by 2.1 percent primarily due to adverse weather and a reduction in investment. Continued fast national GDP growth would be expected to shorten the length of time over which the Federal Reserve can maintain historically low interest rates.

There continues to be improvement in the regional economy. For the region, seasonally-adjusted taxable sales were up 10 percent in August 2014 over August 2013. Seasonally-adjusted September 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 18 percent compared to September 2013. September 2014 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew by 11 percent over September 2013. Existing single-family home sales for the three coastal counties were up six percent in October 2014, compared to October 2013.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region declined to 5.8 percent in October 2014 from 5.9 percent in September. Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.0 percent from 6.1 percent in September 2014, while the national unemployment rate decreased to 5.8 percent in October 2014 from 5.9 percent in the previous month.

The October Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 214,000 for the month, less than the revised increase of 256,000 in September.

The national consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.7 percent from October 2013 to October 2014. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.8 percent. The closest CPI measurement in Florida to our area is for the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area, which saw a 2.2 percent increase from October 2013 to October 2014. The national housing prices increased 5.58 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the 12 months ending August 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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