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
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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Economic Report
5:00 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Harper: State Economy Getting Back on Track

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest three-year economic outlook for Florida from the Legislature’s chief economist Amy Baker, head of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

The budget outlook is presented every August. Harper says after a bit of a slow start to 2014, January through May, the state appears to be getting back on track. “Now for the new fiscal year, which in Florida starts July 1 and runs through June 30, the forecast is that total revenues will be up about $1 Billion for this fiscal year.”

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Economic Report
2:34 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Harper: August Job Growth Down; Still Decent Summer

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses job growth for the month of August.

This week, just days before the official U.S. Labor Department report, the payroll processing firm ADP (Automated Data Processing) released a report projecting that some 200, 000 new jobs were added in August.

“That’s a little bit lower than the consensus forecast by economists who track the job market,” says Harper.

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Economic Report
12:10 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Harper: Jobless Claims Down; Economy Relatively Healthy

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper, assistant vice president of economic development at the University of West Florida, discusses the latest jobless claims report.

The U.S. Department of Labor report for the week ended Aug. 23 showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a second straight week last week to 298,000, with a four-week average at 299,750.

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Economic Report
12:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Harper Excited About New Role With Studer Institute

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper, assistant vice president of economic development at the University of West Florida, discusses the announcement this week regarding his new position with the Studer Institute.

A partnership with UWF will allow Harper to become Director of the Institute.

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Economic Report
8:07 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Harper Expects Good Economic Outlook For Florida

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the meeting of state economists this week in Tallahassee. Florida has an office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) that reports on the economy to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

“EDR every year has to produce the state economic outlook.  And, one of the most important reasons to do that is because the governor as we head into autumn is going to be evaluating various proposals for state programs or tax relief and has to know the health of the economy,” says Harper.

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