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.

Ways to Connect

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.

University of West Florida

  

  

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest report from the Commerce Department showing that the U.S. economy posted a much bigger rebound in growth during the spring than previously reported.

“It was actually good news,” said Harper, referring to the federal government’s revised estimate on the GDP growth for the second quarter of 2015.  

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., which will be holding its inaugural meeting Tuesday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort at 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West in Destin.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses new reports on personal income growth and job growth.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income increased $68.1 billion in June.

“It was actually stronger than expected,” Harper said. “It was up four-tenths of a percent in June, and the forecast had called for it to be less than that. So, (it’s) good news overall.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest GDP figures, initial jobless claims for June, and pending home sales.

The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services, expanded at a 2.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, led by a surge in consumer spending and a recovery in foreign trade.

DD: Lots to talk about this week starting off with the National Association for Business Economics, a big meeting there.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest retail sales report, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony this before Congress, and plans for a new University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses economic developments in Europe, with analysis of the economic crisis in Greece.

“We’re on the verge of seeing a Greek exit from the European Monetary System,” Harper said as the Greek government was holding an emergency meeting to discuss making another bid for financial help from the European Union.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to local beach tourism and his latest viewpoint on wage growth.

First, visitors and locals alike will be celebrating Independence Day across the gulf coast this weekend.

According to Harper, the forward looking indicators are very strong.

“We’re seeing low gas prices, lowest they’ve been really in about five years,” he said. “We’re also seeing job growth.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Governor Rick Scott’s signing of Florida’s 2015-2016 Budget and the economic outlook for 2016.

“It’s a big budget,” Harper said, referring to the state’s $78.2 billion budget. “It’s a sign that the economy is recovering, because when people are getting paychecks, when tourists are visiting Florida and paying sales tax on everything they buy, then that means that there are more dollars flowing into state coffers.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest from the U.S. Federal Reserve and other important economic indicators.

The Federal Open Market Committee met this week, as it does every six weeks.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest reports on unemployment benefits, job growth, retail sales, and mortgage rates.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, yet remained at a historically low level.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the University of West Florida’s recently signed memorandum of understanding with Space Florida and the upcoming Affordable Housing Summit in Pensacola.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of recently released U.S. Census figures.

“We’ve declined in population over the years, as people have moved out to the suburbs,” said Harper, referring to the number of people living in the City of Pensacola, which is the urban core of a larger metro area including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The metro area population estimate for 2014 is 474,081.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Memorial Day holiday weekend and the closing of a grant program established in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

From an economic standpoint, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is important in that it marks the unofficial start to the tourist season.

“Tourism is looking good across northwest Florida,” Harper said. “The beach metro areas are seeing strong visitation increases and that’s a good sign.”

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