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.

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The Federal Reserve met this week and decided once again not to raise interest rates, but the effect of that decision to do nothing is still making waves in the larger economy.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the most recent unemployment benefits claim numbers, a sluggish jobs report, the chances for a recession and the second annual Community Summit being held this week in Pensacola.  

The U.S. Department of Labor said that jobless claims fell about 4,000 from last week, showing that employers appear to be holding onto workers despite a sluggish economy.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what Memorial Day tourism numbers are telling us about the 2016 tourist season. He also talks about the potential threat the Zika virus poses to Florida tourism, and he discusses new grants that could benefit the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem.

 

The Memorial Day holiday signaled the beginning of the 2016 tourist season, and it looks like the area is off to a good start.

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the changes in overtime pay rules, the latest unemployment numbers and the prospect of the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate increase.

New federal regulations have nearly doubled the the amount of overtime pay employees are eligible to receive. Harper said the rules are drastic, in part, because they are cumulative.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses record numbers of visitors in the first quarter of 2016 and the direct effect on Florida’s tourism job numbers.

 

Florida’s tourism business is booming. A report released by the governor’s office this week said that 29.8 million visitors came to the state in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 10th anniversary of the reefing of the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany and its subsequent economic impact, as well as a rise in applications for unemployment benefits nationally. 

The USS Oriskany was sunk in May 2006, about 20 miles off the coast of Northwest Florida, creating the largest man-made artificial reef in the world.

Harper said the Oriskany has been “a great innovation for our coastal tourism economy and also a great opportunity for research.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses underperforming job numbers and where job growth is – and isn’t – in Northwest Florida.

The Automatic Data Processing Inc. Research Institute latest monthly report, released Wednesday, showed that while job creation was still occurring in April, it was at a slower pace than expected.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the first quarter Gross Domestic Product report, the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates, and growth in both Navarre Beach and downtown Pensacola.

 

The GDP report was released this week and reports that the U.S. economy’s annual growth slowed to just 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2016.

 

“It’s disappointing,” Harper said. “Half a percent is not in the range we’d like to see.”

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the UWF Student Scholar Symposium and Faculty Research Showcase that took place at the University’s Field House on Thursday and featured “scholarly and creative works produced through collaboration between UWF students and faculty.”

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the impact of the Downtown Improvement Board’s announcement that Gallery Night and the Pelican Drop are ending, the re-instating of EDATES and a new medical facility coming to Pace.

 

In a surprise announcement, The DIB announced that the popular downtown Pensacola Gallery Nights will end in September. The DIB said that they would be using their funds on other projects.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Panama Papers scandal and tax inversion,the rise in service sector jobs and why economic growth isn’t benefiting everyone in our area.

The Panama Papers scandal, in which a leak revealed that many world leaders are storing their wealth in secret offshore accounts to avoid taxes, was big news this week, but what does it mean for the world economy? In Harper’s view, not much in the short term.

 

  In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Commerce Department’s revised Gross Domestic Product report and good news about job growth for Florida.

 

The Commerce Department released their revised GDP report for the fourth quarter of 2015 this week and it beat expectations, surprising many.

 

“It came in at 1.4 percent growth and while that’s not a great growth rate – we would rather see growth at 2, 3 or even more percent per year, it was better than expected,” Harper said. 

 

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Federal Reserve holding fast on interest rates, how the Consumer Price Index is standing, an increase in housing starts and what the renewal of the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption means for our community.

The Federal Reserve held interest rates recently and Harper expects this to be the pattern for the rest of this year.

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what local projects were vetoed by the Governor in Florida’s budget and what improvements could mean for the Port of Pensacola.

The largest state budget in Florida’s history – over $82.3 billion – has been signed by Gov. Rick Scott, but only after a veto of $256 million dollars of state projects.

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what’s is (and isn’t) in Florida’s 2016-17 budget. He also discusses the continued development of downtown Pensacola.

As the legislative session winds down for this year, lawmakers will be voting on proposed $82.3 billion state budget. How does this budget reflect the state of Florida’s economy?

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