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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 21, 2014: First Quarter Lee County Business Climate Survey Report issued
View the report

December 11, 2013: The Economic Community Impact Study - Academic Year 2012-2013 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 2014 pdf (31 pages)

Our Monthly Report:
Regional Economic Indicators, March 2014. pdf (25 pages)

Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on March 28, 2014:

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

The nation is continuing its economic recovery and Southwest Florida has benefited from a strong winter season. The winter storms (Polar Vortex) have had a negative short-term impact on the national economy but highlighted the relatively warm winters in Southwest Florida. Taxable sales in the region were up 10 percent in December 2013 compared to December 2012. Tourism tax revenues for the three coastal counties are now shown on a seasonally-adjusted basis withrevenues increasing by 20 percent from January 2013 to January 2014. Passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was 924,210 passengers in January 2014, up six percent over January 2013.

Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates in January 2014 showed noticeable improvement over the corresponding month of the prior year in all counties. Total employment in the five reporting counties increased by 18,326 persons over January 2013, while the number of unemployed dropped by 10,945. As a result, the region’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent to 6.1 percent over the last year


The national seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 7.7 percent in February 2013 to 6.7 percent in February 2014. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) is 3.8 million or 37.0 percent of all unemployed.

Real GDP growth in the U.S. was 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 4.1 percent in the third quarter of 2013. This compares to to 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013. Real personal consumption expenditure growth for the fourth quarter of 2013 was 3.3 percent, compared to 2.0 percent for the third quarter.

The February Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 for the month, higher than the revised increase of 129,000 in January. The February employment increases included 79,000 in professional and business services, 33,000 in education and health services, 25,000 in leisure and hospitality, 15,000 in construction, 14,800 in wholesale trade, 13,000 in government, 9,000 in financial activities, and 6,000 in manufacturing. In contrast, information was down by 16,000, retail trade was down by 4,100, and transportation and warehousing was down by 3,600.

The national consumer price index increased by 1.1 percent from February 2013 to February 2014. Medical care services increased 2.4 percent while energy prices decreased by 2.5 percent. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.6 percent. National housing prices increased 13.2 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home price index in the 12 months ended January 2014.

The most recently published study:

The Economic Community Impact - Academic Year 2012-2013
December 11, 2013 pdf (18 pages)
This study is an economic impact analysis of the University, estimating the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region. It is an update of earlier studies done for Academic Years 2009-2010, 2007-2008 and 2005-2006.

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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