Rick Harper

Economist

Rick Harper's career as an economist began in 1979 at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where he was involved in all phases of various funded research projects. Rick received his Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University in 1989 and joined the UWF faculty that same year. He received his bachelor's degree from Guilford College in North Carolina.

Prior to coming to UWF, Rick lectured at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Other academic experience includes visiting appointments at ESSCA, in Angers, France, the University of Nottingham, England and University College, Cork, Ireland. His published scholarly research is largely in the area of government policy and its effect on the business environment.

Through UWF's Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, where he served as director, Rick worked with Florida businesses and government leaders on a variety of business research and economic development issues. He represented Northwest Florida on Governor Jeb Bush's Council of Economic Advisors from 2001 - 2006. He now serves as director of UWF's Office of Economic Development and Engagement.

Ways To Connect

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses economic issues related to the fifth anniversary of the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was on April 20, 2010 that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing eleven people and triggering a sea-floor oil gusher that flowed for nearly three months. It was the nation's largest off-shore oil spill.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reviews the latest jobs report and discusses happenings in downtown Pensacola, including the opening of the 2015 season for the Pensacola Blue Wahooos.

The U.S. economy created just 126,000 jobs in March. That number was far fewer than the 245,000 economists had expected.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 2015 Economic Mobility Conference, the recently released Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings, and his latest economic column on education funding.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest jobless claims report, another decline in mortgage rates, fluctuating oil prices, and a new Census Bureau report on the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

“The latest report was good,” said Harper noting that 282,000 people filed initial claims for jobless benefits. “Any time you’re down below 300,000, clearly it’s a good sign for the labor market.”

According to the Labor Department, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 last week.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses his latest economic column focusing on the earnings potential of University of West Florida and Pensacola State College graduates, Florida’s latest unemployment report, and the benefit of being named a top beach.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the start of spring break, the latest job growth and unemployment statistics, and “stress tests” for the nation’s biggest banks.

Across northwest Florida, Panama City has the strongest spring break season.

Even though students spending their spring break on area beaches this week have more fog than sun, Harper says economic indicators are pointing to a good spring break period across the board.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the projection for growth for local economies over the next few months and the rise in Pensacola airfares.

The University of West Florida Haas Center is out with a report, projecting that Northwest Florida economies are expected to experience uneven growth through May.

“I think uneven is a good way to put it,” said Harper, noting the Haas Center’s new quarterly Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses early childhood learning, which is the subject of the third and final installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola Metro area.

Harper is director of the Institute, in addition to his role as director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the second installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola area.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Studer Community Institute’s launch of a three-part series focusing on education in the Pensacola area.

Harper is director of the Institute, which is a not-for-profit organization that highlights important issues in the Pensacola community and works towards innovative solutions.

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