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.

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Economic Report
12:49 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

November Job Growth, Spending Top Expectations

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper shares details from the November 2014 jobs report, updates the holiday shopping season, and reviews the summer tourism season in Northwest Florida.

The latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Dec. 5, shows that employment rose by 321,000 in November, compared with an average monthly gain of 224,000 over the prior 12 months.

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Economic Report
7:54 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Harper: Black Friday Sales Down; Job Growth Expected

  In this week’s Economic Report on WUWF, Dr. Rick Harper discusses data on this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping days, what's projected in the latest jobs report, and the hiring of a new economic development coordinator at the Haas Center.

In taking a closer look at Black Friday, holiday weekend sales dropped by eleven percent, relative to last year. The projection had been a growth in sales of 9-11%. Cyber Monday sales rose 8%.

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Economic Report
3:37 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Harper Projects Modest 'Black Friday'

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the big holiday shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Of course, Black Friday is starting earlier, now on Thanksgiving Day for some retail outlets.

According to Harper, projections call for just a modest increase in retail sales on Black Friday 2014 over previous years. “If it were a healthy, robust economy, we’d expect to see maybe a five to seven percent increase in same store sales. But retail analysts are expecting to see less than that,” said Harper.

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Economic Report
11:57 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Harper Touts UWF's Industry Research Matching Grant Program

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a new matching grant program recently launched by his Office of Economic Development and Engagement at The University of West Florida.

“It’s an exciting time for our office, and hopefully for the region,” said Harper, executive director of the UWF OEDE.The initiative provides $1.5 million in matching grants to connect Northwest Florida businesses with research resources available through UWF.

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Economic Report
12:40 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

A Busy Couple Of Weeks Set To Boost The Area's Economy

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses significant local happenings, including Pensacola’s new 12-day fall cultural event, the Foo Foo Festival.

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Economic Report
4:08 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Navy Federal Expansion Great For Local Economy

Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Navy Federal Credit Union’s official announcement regarding plans to continue expanding its operations in Pensacola, bringing 5,000 new jobs and $350 million in capital investment to the region by 2026.

“It’s great news for the economy, probably $400 million a year in economic impact from the payroll in both direct employment, plus the ripple effect,” says Harper.

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Economic Report
1:56 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Harper: Gulf Power Symposium Takes Close Look at Region's Economy

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium, set take place Monday and Tuesday, Oct 13 and 14 at the Baytowne Conference Center in Sandestin. This year’s theme is ‘Game Plan for the Future…What’s Your Next Move?

“It’s a super event,” says Harper. “It’s really the one chance where business leaders, analysts, guests from around the nation, who are expert in various areas of economics and business, get together to talk about where’ve been in Northwest Florida and where we’re going.”

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Economic Report
1:19 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Harper: ITEN Wired Important For IT Job Recruitment

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s ITEN Wired Regional Technology Summit. The event, taking place October 2-3 in Pensacola, is aimed at fostering local economic development efforts surrounding innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

“It’s an exciting event,” said Harper, noting that this is the eleventh year for the conference, which is sponsored by the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

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Economic Report
12:31 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Harper: GDP Estimate Up; Jobless Claims Down

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest Gross Domestic Product. The GDP report released last week was the second of three estimates for the second quarter. “The good news is that it’s up relative to the initial estimate,” says Harper. 

The initial estimate had been 4 percent.  The revised rate is 4.2% GDP growth. The biggest gains were in the areas of consumer spending, exports, and business investment spending.

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Economic Report
1:21 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Harper: Ivan Created Economic Boom

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reviews where the region is ‘10 years on from Hurricane Ivan.’ The devastating storm struck the Florida-Alabama gulf coast, coming ashore at Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16, 2004.

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