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
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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Economic Report
2:10 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Harper: Sales Tax Holiday Yields Mixed Results

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the benefits of the Back-to-School Tax Free Holiday that’s taking place this weekend (Aug 1-3), in Florida and Alabama. This is the second of three sales tax holidays in Florida this year.

The Hurricane Tax Free Holiday was held May 31-June 8. In September, there will be a sales tax holiday on the purchase of energy efficient appliances.

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Economic Report
5:51 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Harper: Local Job Growth Impressive, World Growth Disappointing

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projecting economic growth for 2014.

“It’s down somewhat...and a little disappointing” says Harper, noting IMF’s world GDP growth forecast of 3.4 percent for the remainder of the year. That's a little better than the 3.2% the world economy managed in 2013. However, their April forecast had been 3.6%. “So it’s a slight slowdown and we’re seeing that in a couple of different countries.”

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Economic Report
5:19 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Harper: 'Blues' Boost Tourism, Local Foreclosures Drop

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on Blue Angels weekend on Pensacola Beach. ‘Red, White and Blues Week’ follows the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which provides a critical boost to the local tourism industry over a stretch of about a week-and-a-half.

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Economic Report
2:55 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Harper: Packed Beaches Great For Local Economy

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the month of July to Northwest Florida’s tourism industry.

“In our climate zone, July is far and away the biggest month. It’s the month in which hoteliers and restaurateurs are able to charge top dollar, keep the place full. That’s when they pack away the profits they’ll need to make their lease or mortgage payments throughout the rest of the year,” says Harper, who adds that there are indications that it’s a good July this year.

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Economic Report
3:51 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Harper: 2.9% Drop In GDP Shows Weak Start To 2014 GDP Revision

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest first quarter revision of the gross domestic product (GDP).  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP shows a 2.9% drop in the annual rate in January through March, the weakest quarter for the U.S. economy since the Great Recession.

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