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
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.

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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.

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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.

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Economic Report
12:55 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Deep Freeze Cuts Into Employment And Retail Sales

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a rise in initial jobless claims.  The U.S. Labor Department says the number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose 8,000 last week to 339,000.

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Economics with Rick Harper
3:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Harper: Air Force Cuts Could Hurt Northwest Florida

Credit University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the proposal by the U.S. Air Force to reduce its active-duty force by 22,500 or 7 percent in 2014. The more aggressive one-year reduction plan compares to previously announced plans to reduce the force by about 25,000 over five years.

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