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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. Christopher Westley, Professor of Economics in the Lutgert College of Business.


August 27, 2015: 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

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, Third Quarter 2015 pdf (25 pages)

Our Monthly Report:

Regional Economic Indicators, August 2015. pdf (21 pages)
The report was released by Dr. Christopher Westley, Director of RERI. Dr. Westley's comments at the release of the report on August 31, 2015:

It is my pleasure to provide you the August 2015 Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicators Report. This report is provided by the Regional Economic Research Institute of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

A number of positive signs appeared in the most recent regional data. Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales for May 2015 were up seven percent ($129 million) over May 2014. Seasonally-adjusted tourist tax revenues for June 2015 were up 10 percent for the region encompassing Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. The June 2015 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was four percent higher than the June 2014 figure. RealtorĀ® sales of existing single-family homes within the three coastal counties were up 19 percent in July 2015 compared to July 2014.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region held steady at 5.2 from June to July, a full percentage point below the year earlier figure; unemployment for the state of Florida was 5.4 percent in July 2015, a decrease of six-tenths of a percent from July 2014. The national unemployment rate in July 2015 was 5.4 percent, down from 6.0 percent in July 2014. The number of long-term unemployed in the U.S. (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was 2.2 million in July 2015, which is a 31.1 percent decrease from July 2014 and 26.9 percent of all unemployed.

The July Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 for the month, a decrease of 16,000 from June and below the 12-month average job growth of 246,000. The July employment increases included 36,000 in retail trade, 28,000 in health care, 27,000 in professional and technical services, and 17,000 in financial activities. While manufacturing employment increased by 15,000, there was little change in other major industries such as construction, wholesale trade, and information. Possibly reflecting the global decline in commodity prices, mining employment continued its downward trend in July, decreasing by 5,000 jobs.

Please see the rest of the report for more detail.

Christopher Westley, Ph.D.
Director, Regional Economic Research Institute
   and Professor of Economics
Lutgert College of Business
Florida Gulf Coast University

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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