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Regional Economic Research Institute

Reports and Studies

Go directly to:     Periodic Reports    |    Studies and Presentations

This page includes links to documents developed by the Institute, which can be broadly categorized as Periodic Reports and Studies (including presentations). Our intent is to inform the larger community of the Institute's activities.

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.

Also, the Institute has been commissioned to do several specialized economic studies; summary reports of those studies are linked here.

Documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF), indicated by pdf
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Periodic Reports: (Earlier Reports can be found on the Archive page)

Our Quarterly Report
Lee County Business Climate Survey Report, Second Quarter 2015 pdf (26 pages)

Our Monthly Report:

Regional Economic Indicators, June 2015. pdf (23 pages)
The report was released by Dr. Christopher Westley, Director of RERI. Dr. Westley's comments at the release of the report on June 26, 2015:

It is my pleasure to provide you the June 2015 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.

A revised first quarter real GDP estimate indicated U.S. economic output fell 0.7 percent, and although there are concerns about data collection problems resulting in weaker-than-average first quarter measures for GDP in recent years, the general consensus is that the higher-than-expected trade deficit contributed to the revision. In the third and fourth quarters of 2014, GDP increased 5.0 and 2.2 percent, respectively. In contrast, the Southwest Florida economy continued to exhibit strong growth in June compared to last year. In general, the regional economic data suggest an economy still in a strong recovery mode as we move into a slower summer season.

While the second quarter GDP figures for 2015 are expected to show improvement, the national economy continues to exhibit conflicting signals, with strong monthly jobs reports and wage pressure associated with the boom phase of the business cycle, coupled with weak manufacturing output. Meanwhile, statements emanating from the recent Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meeting (see below) reiterated its intention to begin a slow, calculated process to raise short-term rates and inch away from the zero-bound interest rate policy it has maintained since December 2008.

Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales for March 2015 were up 10 percent over March 2014. Seasonally-adjusted tourist tax revenues were up nine percent for the region encompassing Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. April 2015 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was four percent higher than the April 2014 figure. Continuing the positive trend, Realtor® sales of existing single-family homes for the three coastal counties in May 2015 were up two percent over May 2014, along with substantial increases in median prices.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region was 5.6 percent in May 2015 compared to 6.4 percent a year earlier, while Florida’s unemployment rate amounted to 5.7 percent in May 2015, down from 6.3 percent in May 2014. The national unemployment rate in May 2015 was 5.5 percent, down from 6.3 percent in May 2014. The May 2015 national, state, and regional unemployment rates were each 0.1 points higher than the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed in the U.S. (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was 2.5 million in May 2015, which is a 25.3 percent decrease from May 2014 and 28.6 percent of all unemployed.

The May Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey showed that national nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 for the month, an increase of 59,000 from April. Employment growth nationally has averaged 251,000 per month over the last 12 months.

Our sincere thanks to the individuals and organizations who contribute to this report. These include the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, the Economic Development Organizations of Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties, the Convention and Visitors Bureaus of Collier and Lee Counties, the regional airport authorities, the Realtors® of Lee and Collier County, the University of Florida Survey Research Center, and the county and city permit offices.

Best,
Chris Westley

Earlier issues of the Regional Economic Indicators are linked from the Archive page.


Studies and Presentations:


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.


The Economic Community Impact - Academic Year 2012-2013
December 11, 2013 pdf (18 pages)
This study is an economic impact analysis of the University, estimating the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region. It is an update of earlier studies done for Academic Years 2009-2010, 2007-2008 and 2005-2006.


The Status of Women in Southwest Florida
August 1, 2012 pdf (160 pages)
This study, commissioned by The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida, analyzes the 2010 Census information and other Florida agency data to better understand population, diversity, employment, income, achievement, autonomy, health, and well-being of women in Southwest Florida.


Benchmark Assessment for the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium
February 10, 2012 pdf (144 pages)
This study includes benchmark analysis of similar facilities (organizational structure, staffing, attendance, and other factors). As well, the study includes interviews with select local leaders and an economic impact analysis.



The Economic Community Impact - Academic Year 2009-2010
July 25, 2011pdf (18 pages)
This study is an economic impact analysis of the University, estimating the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region. It is an update of earlier studies done for Academic Years 2007-2008 and 2005-2006.


Florida's New Economic Reality: The State of the State
February 11, 2010 pdf (46 pages)
This is a presentation made by Dr. Jackson to the Florida Philanthropic Network, a statewide association of grantmakers working to strengthen philanthropy through research, education and public policy. The presentation reviewed economic trends at the National, Regional, and State levels.
Visit the Website of the Florida Philanthropic Network


External Environmental Scan
November 16, 2009 pdf (55 pages)
This study of the environment external to FGCU was done as an input to the university's strategic planning process. It includes an economic outlook, occupation and industry trends, regional economic development and workforce studies, population and demographic trends, educational attainment levels, educational degrees granted, and a review of regional educational institutions.


Southwest Florida Regional Business Incubator Planning Study
August 27, 2009 pdf (220 pages)
This report is a strategic planning study for a regional business incubator network for Southwest Florida. The basic purpose of this research is to identify best practices, regional issues and characteristics, and recommend a development plan for a regional business incubator system for Southwest Florida.



The Economic Community Impact - Academic Year 2007-2008
October 14, 2008 pdf (17 pages)
This study is an economic impact analysis of the University, estimating the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region. It is an update of an earlier study done for Academic Year 2005-2006.


Changing Economic Times pdf (40 pages),
presented September 11, 2008 to the Real Estate Market Trends Conference in Charlotte County. The presentation included national and local economic trends as well as Federal Reserve System forecasts for 2008 - 2010.


Traded Business Clusters Study - Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties
June 9, 2008 pdf (61 pages)
This document is an important update to an earlier study which provided available regional cluster information for the years 2001 and 2004. (The earlier study is available here; it was issued June 19, 2006 and discusses methodology in more detail.)
Data is now available for 2006 and this update provides a summary of the cluster analysis using 2006 employment, average wage, and number of establishments by cluster definition. This is a continuing regional collaboration between the University and the Economic Development Organizations in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties.


Changing Economic Times
April 8, 2008 pdf (38 pages)
This was a presentation by Dr. Jackson at Market Pulse, an event sponsored by the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors. It is a comprehensive review of economic trends, both nationally and in Southwest Florida.


An Economic Property Tax Review of Ten Selected Florida Counties,
December 12, 2007 pdf (135 pages)
This report is the second part of a research project sponsored by the Florida Association of Realtors that focuses on ten select counties. [The report on the first part of the project is available here; it was issued on August 10, 2007.] The research is designed to provide a better understanding of the real property tax system by analyzing various property owner-groups. The tax information analyzed is for Bay, Citrus, Dade, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Leon, Okaloosa, Orange, and Palm Beach Counties. Also provided in the report are:

  • Review and Analysis of the new property tax constitutional amendment as it applies to the ten counties; and
  • Forecasts of property tax exemptions and portability for each of the counties.


    Southwest Florida Executive Business Climate Survey, Fall 2007 pdf (13 pages)
    This report is based on a survey conducted by RERI for the Chamber of Southwest Florida. The survey solicited executive responses from a mix of large and small firms over a cross-section of businesses in Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties. The firms serve local, regional, national, and international markets.

    The survey measured the level of optimism regarding the regional economy, with specific questions focusing on the housing market, property tax legislation, business trends, labor market, and other issues of current interest.

    Chamber of SW Florida website



    Florida's Property Tax Reform Legislation: An Economic Review,
    August 10, 2007 pdf (60 pages)
    This is the initial report of an economic study sponsored by the Florida Association of Realtors and includes:
    • A historical overview of Florida’s property values and taxes;
    • A description of new property tax legislation and proposed constitutional amendment;
    • A summary of economic studies and analysis;
    • Simulations of taxes owed under the Super Homestead and Save Our Homes; and
    • Potential issues and concerns.

    Florida Association of Realtors website



    The Economic Community Impact - Academic Year 2005-2006,
    June 18, 2007 pdf (17 pages)
    This study is an economic impact analysis of the University to mark its tenth year of operation. It estimates the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region and its five-county service area.


    Southwest Florida Health Care Industry Study, March 2007. pdf (219 pages)
    This study:

    • is regional in scope, covering thirteen Health Care sectors in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties;
    • defines and analyzes the economic impact of the Health Care industry on the Region, including employment, output values, value added/produced, and labor income; and
    • identifies issues and needs of the various Health Care sectors in the areas of growth, facilities, workforce, training, and any regulatory concerns.


    Immokalee Master Plan Study, November 2006. pdf (75 pages)
    This is a stand-alone economic analysis study of Immokalee, Florida, conducted for the RMPK Group, an urban planning and design firm in Sarasota, Florida. It focused on population, employment, and development issues.

    RMPK website




    Traded Business Clusters Study - Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties
    June 19, 2006. pdf (96 pages)
    This document represents an important collaboration between the University and the Economic Development Organizations in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties.

    Industry Clusters are geographic concentrations of business suppliers, producers, service providers, and associated institutions. This research study focuses on Traded Industry Clusters in the Southwest Florida counties of Charlotte, Collier, and Lee. Traded industry clusters compete for national and international market share and export a large part of their product or service outside the local regional economy.

    Links to Economic Development Organization websites:
    Charlotte    |    Lee    |    Collier


    Portability Study, January 2006. pdf (120 pages)
    This is a summary report of an economic study of the proposed "Save Our Homes" portability amendment to the Florida Constitution. The study was done under contract to the Florida Association of Realtors, and included:

    • A review of the literature, including major studies done on California’s Proposition 13 (and others), also related portability laws;
    • Economic Analysis of a Florida portability bill, HJR 33, including a range of changes to portability and their likely economic impact; and
    • A comprehensive analysis of the impact of portability on 10 representative Florida Counties.

    Florida Association of Realtors website


    Burroughs Home Study, November 2005. pdf (66 pages)
    This is a summary report of an economic benchmarking study of the Burroughs Home in Fort Myers, Florida. The primary elements of the study were:

    • Economic Benchmark Analysis;
    • Comparative Benchmark Analysis;
    • Key Informants Interviews; and
    • Community Economic Impact

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