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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, June 2014. pdf (25 pages)

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

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

A revised first quarter GDP estimate showed a decline in the nation’s economic output of 2.9 percent, primarily driven by adverse weather and a reduction in investment. Real personal consumption expenditures growth for the first quarter was 1.0 percent. Second quarter growth is expected to be positive and show strong growth. The regional economic trends continue to be positive as we move into the slower summer season. A new Federal Reserve Open Market Committee forecast is provided in the introduction to the report reflecting the slower 2014 GDP growth.

Taxable sales (not seasonally adjusted) in the region were up eight percent ($174.7 million) in March 2014 over March 2013. Seasonally adjusted taxable sales information has been added to create new charts that show the trends better. The new charts start on page 14. April 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 28 percent over April 2013. Passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew to 1,059,036 in April 2014, up 10 percent over April 2013.

The unemployment rates for May 2014 were 6.1 percent in Lee County, 5.9 percent in Collier County, and 6.2 percent in Charlotte County. Hendry County had an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent, while the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in Glades County, and 6.3 percent for Florida.

The May Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 217,000 for the month, lower than the revised increase of 282,000 in April. The May employment increases included 63,000 in education and health services, 55,000 in professional and business services, 16,400 in transportation and warehousing, 12,500 in retail trade, 9,900 in wholesale trade, 10,000 in manufacturing, 6,000 in construction, 4,000 in leisure and hospitality, 4,000 in other services, 3,000 in financial activities, and 1,000 in government. In contrast, information (media) decreased by 5,000.

The national consumer price index increased by 2.1 percent from May 2013 to May 2014. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 2.0 percent. National housing prices increased 10.8 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home price index in the 12 months ended April 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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