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.

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

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WUWF Public Media

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the economic issues discussed in the State of the Union address and discusses how important education will be for job development in the Pensacola area.

In his final State of the Union address, President Barrack Obama began by assuring Americans that the U.S. economy is the strongest and most durable in the world.

WUWF Public Media

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent Chinese stock market crisis and its possible lasting effects. Also, he predicts how the Pensacola-area economy will fare in 2016.

China’s stock market has had a rocky beginning to 2016, and that is feeding doubt among investors about the country’s economic stability.

“China is a source of great uncertainty right now,” Harper said. “We had the shortest trading day ever in China as a result of the market falling 7.3 percent in about half an hour, which led authorities to shut it down.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade.

Harper called the increase in the interest rate of a quarter of a percentage point “good news,” noting the Fed tracked the economy carefully and is responsible for maintaining both full employment and a low and stable price level nationally.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what the slight rise in unemployment claims means for the economy and the possible changes to the state’s short sell mortgage laws.

 

The Dec. 5 unemployment claims are in, and the state’s initial claims have risen to their highest point in five months – up 13,000 to 282,000. But Harper says that’s no cause for alarm. Depending upon when the month ends, where Thanksgiving falls and where Christmas spending begins, the reports can be volatile from week to week.

 

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what the increase in Thanksgiving weekend retail spending means for Florida, the possibility of increased short-term interest rates, and Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to create an economic development war chest.

 

Holiday shopping has begun. Coming out of what is traditionally the biggest retail weekend of the year, spending saw an increase over last year, but a modest one, Harper said.

 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the continuing boost in Florida’s tourism marketing and traffic, how the terrorist attacks in Paris may affect that traffic, and what’s ahead for holiday shopping.

Harper said Florida tourism has continued to grow in 2015 and should be on a pace to set a new record for the state.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a reduction in unemployment benefit claims, a healthier job markets and the success of the recent EntreCon business convention held Nov. 5-6 in Pensacola.

Harper said that both the weekly number and the four-week moving average for jobless claims are down well below 300,000 per week, which signals a “pretty decent jobs market.”

 

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses federal interest rates, gas prices and a recent Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. board of directors meeting in Miramar Beach.

As predicted, members of the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates the same.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the next meeting of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.  It will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 9 a.m. – noon at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Bayside Ballroom at 160 Sandestin Blvd. N., Miramar Beach, Florida, 32550.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium held October 11-13 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin, FL.

“Think Big; think Northwest Florida,” said Harper referring to the theme of this year’s event, which had over 600 people in attendance.

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Florida Chamber of Commerce 2015 Future of Florida Forum and Annual Meeting held this week in Orlando.

The annual gathering took place September 28-29 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

 

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses University of West Florida President Judith Bense’s 2015 state of the university address, as well as ongoing improvement in the U.S. housing market. 

Bense addressed a crowd of several hundred at the UWF Field House Thursday morning. The president, who will retire at the end of 2016, painted a mixed economic picture for the university. 

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest Florida jobs report and the Federal Reserve’s decision to postpone increasing interest rates.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity this week released the jobs report for August, showing overall growth of 3.1 percent, or 243,000 new jobs, for the state.

 

 In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses unemployment, job creation and the promise and limitations of the information technology sector to Northwest Florida’s economy. 

The Labor Department reported Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits had dropped by 6,000, to a seasonally adjusted 275,000. That is a positive sign for the nation’s economy, Harper said. 

“Initial jobless claims look good,” he said. “We are at a four-week moving average that’s well below 300,000 now.” 

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the availability of $5 million in economic development incentives to companies relocating or expanding in Northwest Florida.

“This is part of the $30 million allocation that was appropriated by the legislature several years ago, for the purpose of implementing an economic development program for Northwest Florida,” said Harper that the dollars were initially intended to be used specifically to “close the deal,” with businesses interested in creating jobs in the region.

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