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. Dr. Rick Harper serves as associate vice president of research and economic opportunity at the University of West Florida and oversees the University’s Center for Research and Economic Opportunity. 

 

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

Ways to Connect

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 2015 Economic Mobility Conference, the recently released Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings, and his latest economic column on education funding.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest jobless claims report, another decline in mortgage rates, fluctuating oil prices, and a new Census Bureau report on the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

“The latest report was good,” said Harper noting that 282,000 people filed initial claims for jobless benefits. “Any time you’re down below 300,000, clearly it’s a good sign for the labor market.”

According to the Labor Department, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 last week.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses his latest economic column focusing on the earnings potential of University of West Florida and Pensacola State College graduates, Florida’s latest unemployment report, and the benefit of being named a top beach.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the start of spring break, the latest job growth and unemployment statistics, and “stress tests” for the nation’s biggest banks.

Across northwest Florida, Panama City has the strongest spring break season.

Even though students spending their spring break on area beaches this week have more fog than sun, Harper says economic indicators are pointing to a good spring break period across the board.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the projection for growth for local economies over the next few months and the rise in Pensacola airfares.

The University of West Florida Haas Center is out with a report, projecting that Northwest Florida economies are expected to experience uneven growth through May.

“I think uneven is a good way to put it,” said Harper, noting the Haas Center’s new quarterly Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses early childhood learning, which is the subject of the third and final installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola Metro area.

Harper is director of the Institute, in addition to his role as director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the second installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola area.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Studer Community Institute’s launch of a three-part series focusing on education in the Pensacola area.

Harper is director of the Institute, which is a not-for-profit organization that highlights important issues in the Pensacola community and works towards innovative solutions.

University of West Florida

This week Dr. Rick Harper wrote several reports on jobs across the region, in Panama City, Okaloosa County, and Pensacola. He spoke with Sandra Averhart.

SA: "The Pensacola area sees job gains in December- Real estate, hospitality among sectors that have hit pre-recession employment levels."

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses his recent economic column, in which he details how sales data reflect seasonal ebb and flow of tourist traffic.

“That’s an important issue for Florida,” said Harper. He notes that the central and southern portions of the state, such as Miami, Naples, Sarasota and Punta Gorda, tend to attract their highest level of visitor traffic in the January through March/April time period.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses several recently announced economic developments in Northwest Florida.

In Pensacola, the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition announced that it’s ready to resume the planned expansion of its downtown research facility, after a near year-long delay due to the April 2014 flooding.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of Governor Rick Scott’s recommended education budget, the improving housing industry, and Visit Florida’s “Destination 2020” tourism plan.

In his "Keep Florida Working" budget plan for 2015-2016, Gov. Scott is proposing historic per pupil funding of $7,176, an increase of $50 over the previous record for fiscal year 2007-2008. 

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of local job growth during last year, which he details in his latest bi-weekly economics column.

The headline is ‘Pensacola-area job growth was better than expected in 2014.’

“What was really good news is that for the most recent twelve months, we actually saw a 3,400 job increase,” said Harper. That’s an increase of about 2.1 percent, which is slightly above the national figure of 2.0 percent, and a bit below Florida’s rate of 3.0 percent.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the economic outlook for 2015.

“There’s, hopefully, a lot of good things in store,” said Harper.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report on WUWF, Dr. Rick Harper, discusses new initiatives from the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement (OEDE) and Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development. 

“There’s a lot of new things happening and among those is an effort to step up publicity that we generate about the sorts of things that we’re doing,” said Harper, who is director of OEDE.

Pages