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. Dr. Rick Harper serves as associate vice president of research and economic opportunity at the University of West Florida and oversees the University’s Center for Research and Economic Opportunity. 

 

The Economic Report airs on 88.1 FM Fridays at 6:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Ways to Connect

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at a recent uptick of economic development in the local area and a new solar project for local military facilities.

Two new upscale hotels, an Aloft and an Element, both Starwood brands, are planned downtown between 9th Avenue and Salamanca Street.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the recent rise in unemployment numbers and what they mean in the long term, why job openings have risen and what Obamacare’s repeal could mean for Florida’s economy.

Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 last week. But looking at historical data, the numbers are nothing to worry about, Harper said.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at Florida’s 2017 economic outlook.

A recent University of Florida consumer survey found that a majority of people in the state are feeling very positive about their economic future.

“The overall index was up almost seven points to a value of 97. That’s a pretty strong increase,” Harper said. “The components that make up the index uniformly increased – from people’s perception of their possibility of financial health in the future and their perception of today’s financial health.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the movement to replace the Pensacola Bay Center with a new facility and how Florida and the U.S. job markets are faring after a long period of uninterrupted growth.

The Pensacola Bay Center is reaching the end of its productive lifespan and with maintenance costs rising, a group of stakeholders led by Pensacola Sports and Visit Pensacola have begun looking at replacing the building with a new multiuse facility.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Fed’s recent rate hike and projections of three more hikes in the coming year. He also talks about what the hike means for consumers.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest manufacturing numbers, the role economic incentives play in our area and why the trade deficit isn’t decreasing any time soon.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released its October report on U.S. factory orders, and the numbers were much better than expected.

“Orders are up 2.7 percent. This is the fourth month in a row that factory orders have been up,” Harper said. “We actually got an upwardly revised number for the prior month.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the latest ADP report on job growth, talks about potential tax cuts in the Trump administration and what those reductions could mean for Northwest Florida.

Harper said the report from the ADP, the nation’s largest payroll processor, which comes out two days before the federal statistics on jobs that are released on the first Friday of every month, yielded “surprisingly good” results.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the unexpected boost in retail sales, the underestimated Chinese/U.S. trade relationship, how uncertainty is affecting Florida’s budget, and growth on Nine Mile Road.

U.S. retail sales rose .08 percent in October, which was better than anticipated. But Harper said that there was other good news that shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what the election of Donald Trump means for the economic markets, the Federal Reserve and international trade.

With Hillary Clinton favored to win the 2016 presidential election, many were caught off guard when Trump emerged victorious.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about his recent economic outlook presentation to the Pensacola Rotary Club where he discussed issues that will face our next president, including interest rates, the national debt and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

With less than a week to the election, Harper spoke to the group about where the economy stands now and what we could see after all the votes are counted, particularly with the Federal Reserve and the expected interest rate hike in December.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses an unexpected rise in new home sales, explains why it may be time to reexamine the Consumer Price Index and when BP oil spill relief funds could start funding projects in the area.

Beating expectations, new home sales rose 3.1 percent in September and Harper said that the increase shows conflicting signs in the home sale market.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses an unexpected drop in housing starts in September and what it means for the larger economic landscape. Also, the SBDC released its first Florida Small Business Survey.

Housing starts for September were down 9 percent from August and down 12 percent from September 2015, but Harper said digging deeper into the numbers from the Commerce Department’s monthly report reveals a really mixed bag.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a new Pew Research Center that looks at the state of American jobs. He also talked about the ITEN Wired summit, an annual networking and educational conference for tech and knowledge-based industries.

The study, which spans 1980-2015, finds that jobs that require higher levels of skill are growing faster than those that require fewer skills.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 20th annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium held earlier this week in Panama City.

More than 500 people attended the sold-out event. Harper said the event’s reputation as a world-class symposium has grown along with its attendance.

“It’s really grown in stature around the region,” Harper said. “It’s a great networking event with a lot of great speakers, and I thought this year’s symposium was particularly good.”

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the reasons that the Federal Reserve continues to hold interest rates and what tools they have at their disposal to normalize the economy.

 

After last week’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would once again hold interest rates, many were left wondering why, particularly when low interest rates hurt those trying to save.

 

Pages