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.

Pages

Economic Report
6:20 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Harper: Flooding Expensive For Governments, Residents

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week's Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent flood event and the expected high cost of repairing the damage to roads, infrastructure and other government and private property, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars in each case.

The unexpectedly large volume of rainfall, up to 27 inches in some areas, brought floodwaters to some areas that had never flooded before. That means many homeowners will be forced to foot the bill for repairs themselves. 

Read more
Economic Report
5:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Harper: State And Local Job Growth On The Upswing

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit Uiniversity of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the work to be done to come up with a budget agreement during the final week of the 2014 Florida Legislative Session.

Unlike the federal government, the state must have a balanced budget. According to Harper, one indicator of a healthier state economy since the Recession is that Florida no longer has to dip into its reserves to pay the state’s debt service. “We’re now back down to the level where the state is actively contributing to reserves,” he says.

Read more
Economics with Rick Harper
4:02 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Harper: Florida Made-For-Trade, Interest Rates, & Tax Day

Credit Uiniversity of West Florida

Time now for our weekly review of the region’s economy with Dr. Rick Harper – Director of the UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement, and advisor to the Florida Senate.

Interview Highlights:

Read more
Economic Report
12:26 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

First-Time Jobless Claims At Lowest Level Since 2007

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit Uiniversity of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest report from the U.S. Labor Department regarding the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless claims. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000 for last week. That was the largest decline since December 2012, and marked the lowest level since May 2007.

Read more
Economic Report
5:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Harper: Tepid Job Market To Keep Interest Rates Low

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on the latest comments by Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve.  Yellen says there’s still a need to boost the nation’s job market, with a continuation of low interest rates until it improves.

Read more
Economic Report
3:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Harper: GDP, Jobless Claims Show Continued Economic Recovery

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit Uiniversity of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures. According to revised data released Thursday (March 27) by the Commerce Department, GDP grew at an annual pace of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. The growth rate is slightly better than the 2.4% estimate published in February, but was down from 3.2% originally reported in January. Harper says “Overall, it’s a pretty good report,” noting increases in 1) consumer spending, 2) business investment spending, and 3) exports.

Read more
Economic Report
2:46 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Harper: Yearly Job Growth In Northwest Florida Trends Upward

Dr. Rick Harper
Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s first press conference on Capitol Hill. “It’s steady as she goes for Janet Yellen,” says Harper. He says it wasn’t notable for any change in policy, but for the same rookie error made by her predecessors Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. “She made the mistake of being too direct in a response to a reporter’s question, and that sent the financial markets into a bit of a tizzy.”  

Read more
Economic Report
1:31 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Harper: More Wage Theft Protections Needed

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses issues ranging from President Barack Obama’s proposal to toughen regulations for overtime pay to the net worth of the U.S. rebounding back to pre-recession levels.

Currently, most hourly workers must be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours a week. Most salaried workers do not need to be paid overtime, unless they earn less than $455 a week.  But that works out to $23,660 a year, which is less than the federal poverty level for a family of four.

Read more
Economic Report
1:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Harper: Proposed Florida Budget Gets Larger As State Grows, Job Numbers Improve

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Florida Governor Rick Scott’s proposed 2014-2015 budget, as this year’s Legislative Session gets underway. Gov. Scott is proposing a spending plan of $74.2 billion.

Read more
Economic Report
9:36 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Dr. Rick Harper: Pensacon Boosts Winter Economy

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the economics of the inaugural Pensacon convention. Organizers projected between 5,000 and 10,000 people would attend the event, which quickly filled the Crown Plaza Hotel and Pensacola Bay Center.  “It is big, and it’s rare that in February you have a downtown hotel reporting that it’s fully booked,” Harper says.

To further make the point on the significance of the event during the “winter visitation trough,” he says that there are just a few big weekends during the height of the tourist season that beach hotels fill up.

Read more

Pages