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.
Beginning with the first quarter of 2012, RERI is issuing the Lee County Business Climate Survey Report. This quarterly report is a result of a new 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 2013 (25 pages)
Our Monthly Report:
Regional Economic Indicators, April 2013. (25 pages)
Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on April 29, 2013:
It is my pleasure to provide you with the April 2013 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicator Report released by the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Southwest Florida economy continues its recovery from the housing bubble and financial market problems that pushed the region and nation into recession in 2007. Taxable sales increased by ten percent from January 2012 to January 2013. Passenger traffic at Southwest Florida International airport in February 2013 was up six percent from February 2012. Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties issued a total of 388 single-family home permits in March, 38 percent more than March 2012. March 2013 sales of Lee, Collier, and Charlotte existing single-family homes declined by 12 percent compared to March 2012, but the weighted median single-family home price for Lee, Collier, and Charlotte was up 20 percent from March 2012. This certainly reflects a reduction in the number of distressed single-family home sales such as foreclosures and short sales. Housing prices have increased eight percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home price index from January 2012 to January 2013 reflecting an improving national housing market. Tourism Tax Revenues for Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties increased by five percent over February 2012.
The region's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate continued to show improvement, declining from 9.2 percent in March 2012 to 7.1 percent in March 2013. County details can be found beginning on page 16 of the attached report. Real GDP growth was 2.5 percent for the first quarter of 2013 compared to only 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Real personal consumption expenditures for the first quarter were more positive, growing at 3.2 percent compared to 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter.
The national unemployment rate declined from 7.7 percent in February 2013 to 7.6 percent in March 2013. This constituted a drop of 0.6 percentage points from March 2012. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) is 4.6 million or 39.6 percent of all unemployed.
The March Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 88,000, a much smaller increase than February's 268,000. The March employment increases included 51,000 in professional and business services, 44,000 in education and health services, 18,000 in construction, 24,000 in education and health services, 17,000 in leisure and hospitality, and 5,000 in information. In contrast, retail trade employment declined by 24,000, government employment declined by 7,000, and manufacturing employment declined by 3,000.
The national consumer price index increased by 1.5 percent from March 2012 and March 2013, the smallest increase since the 12 months ended July 2012. The change was primarily driven by medical care which increased by 3.9 percent and transportation cost increases of 3.1 percent. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.9 percent.
The most recently published study:
Three Major Employers in SW Florida: Identification of Critical Position / Skill Gaps
Many additional documents that can be reviewed and downloaded are available on the Reports and Studies page.
April 5, 2013 (96 pages)
Workforce Now is a regional research initiative to identify current and future talent requirements for the five counties of Southwest Florida. As part of this initiative, three major employers in Southwest Florida were interviewed to better understand their critical employment gaps and help identify skill sets needed for those positions. This report is a summary of the information gained from a survey and interviews of those employers.
Links to our partner organizations are available on the Links pagae.
To request more information, see the Contact Us page.