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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, Third Quarter 2015 pdf (25 pages)

Our Monthly Report:

Regional Economic Indicators, October 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 October 30, 2015:

It is my pleasure to provide you the October 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.

The Southwest Florida economy continued to exhibit strong growth, with the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the five-county region registering at 5.2 percent for September - a marked improvement over the measure of 6.0 for September 2014. Similar patterns were observed for the state of Florida. Seasonally-adjusted regional taxable sales were up 9 percent in July 2015 versus July 2014. Seasonally-adjusted tourist tax revenues for August 2015 were down 1 percent for the region encompassing Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. August 2015 passenger activity for the three Southwest Florida airports was 5 percent higher than the August 2014 figure, fueled partly by the 23rd consecutive record month at Punta Gorda Airport.

For the 12-month period ending in September 2015, the state of Florida added 235,700 jobs—a 3 percent increase. For some perspective, this number is second only to California's, which recorded 444,300 new jobs during the same period, and exceeded that of Texas, which recorded 224,800 new jobs. However, Florida's month-to-month job gain was quite low at 2,100, well below Texas' measure of 26,600 and even Georgia's 9,100.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector led the state with 58,100 jobs (an increase of 4.3 percent), followed by Education and Health Services with 50,200 jobs (an increase of 4.3 percent) and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities with 44,500 jobs (an increase of 2.7 percent). However, some of the traditionally higher-paying job sectors shrank in September compared to August, including Government, Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, Manufacturing, and Information. This state-level data, collected by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is seasonally adjusted.

Construction emerged as Florida's bright spot in September, according to a report issued by the Associated General Contractors of America (a trade group) on October 20th. Florida led the nation in construction jobs in September, adding 3,200 jobs for the month, exceeding Louisiana (3,100 jobs), New Jersey (2,800), and Texas (2,800). The report said that labor shortages hamper this industry which, if they persist, should contribute to upward pressures on construction wages over time.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area recorded an employment increase of 5,300 in September 2015 compared to September 2014, or 2.3 percent. The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metropolitan area reported an employment increase of 4,200, or 3.3 percent. The Punta Gorda metropolitan area reported an employment increase of 1,400, or 3.0 percent. However, all three metropolitan areas recorded monthly declines in their labor forces, with 1,832 leaving the labor force in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, 68 in Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, and 116 in Punta Gorda.

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

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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