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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.


August 22, 2014: Third 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, Second Quarter 2014 pdf (23 pages)

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

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

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

The Kansas City Economic Symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was held on August 22, 2014, focusing on labor market dynamics. Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, spoke at the conference and indicated that the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has to look beyond the unemployment rate and use a wide range of information to better understand the slack in the labor market. There remains concern about structural, part-time, and underemployed workers and an expectation that short-term interest rates will remain low even though the July national unemployment rate has declined to 6.2 percent.

A revised second quarter national real GDP estimate growth was 4.2 percent. The increase was primarily driven by increased personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and investment.

Seasonally-adjusted taxable sales in the region were up 12 percent ($201.7 million) in May 2014 over May 2013. Seasonally-adjusted June 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 11 percent over June 2013. Passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew by four percent over June 2013. Revised population projections show an average annual growth rate for the region of 1.5 percent for 2015 to 2040. The average annual population growth rate was 2.8 percent for the 1990 to 2013 period.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region edged up to 6.1 percent in July from 5.9 percent in June 2014. Florida’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.2 percent, while the national unemployment rate inched up to 6.2 percent in July 2014 from 6.1 percent in June 2014.

The July Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 for the month, lower than the revised increase of 298,000 in June.

The national consumer price index increased by 2.0 percent from July 2013 to July 2014. The shelter index (rental equivalence measure for homeowner costs) has risen 2.9 percent over the last 12 months. Medical care services increased 2.5 percent, and energy prices increased by 2.6 percent. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.9 percent. The national housing prices increased 8.1 percent for the 20-city composite S & P Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the 12 months ending June 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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