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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, September 2014. pdf (24 pages)

Dr. Jackson's comments at the release of the report on September 24, 2014:

It is my pleasure to provide you the September 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. Included in this month’s introduction is the updated national economic forecast released by the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee on September 17, 2014.

The Southwest Florida and the U.S. economies continue to show moderate growth. As reported last month, the revised second quarter national real GDP estimate for 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.

Regionally, seasonally-adjusted taxable sales were up 12 percent ($195.8 million) in June 2014 over June 2013. Seasonally-adjusted July 2014 total tourist tax revenues for the three coastal counties increased by 17 percent over July 2013. July 2014 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports grew by eight percent over July 2013. However, single-family home sales for the three coastal counties showed a slight dip in August 2014 compared to August 2013.

While unemployment rates have slowly decreased since the recovery began in 2010, the seasonally-adjusted rate for the five-county region edged up to 6.3 percent in August 2014 from 6.2 percent in July. Florida’s unemployment rate also rose to 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent, while the national unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent in August 2014 from 6.2 percent in the previous month.

The August Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by only 142,000 for the month, lower than the revised increase of 212,000 in July. The August employment increases included 47,000 in professional and business services, 20,000 in construction, 15,000 in leisure and hospitality, 8,000 in government, 8,000 in other services, 7,000 in financial activities, 6,500 in wholesale trade, and 1,200 in transportation and warehousing. Employment declined 8,400 in retail trade and 3,000 in information (media).

The national consumer price index increased by 1.7 percent from August 2013 to August 2014. The shelter index (rental equivalence measure for homeowner costs) has risen 2.9 percent over the last 12 months. Medical care services increased 1.9 percent, and energy prices increased 0.4 percent. Core inflation (all items less food and energy) increased by 1.7 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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