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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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.

University of West Florida

On this week's Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses two economic development projects being pursued by the City of Pensacola. One plan calls for the expansion of ST Aerospace to Pensacola International Airport. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and the city have a memorandum of understanding with the aviation maintenance company, which currently operates in Mobile.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent action by Congress to allow the expiration of benefits for over one million long-term unemployed Americans.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses issues related to poverty, on the 50th anniversary this week of President Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 declaration of “War on Poverty.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the outlook for 2014. Harper expects this year to be a little bit better than 2013. “The main reason for that is that we’ll see less of a drag coming from the federal sector. The slow down in federal spending last year probably subtracted 1.5 percentage points from GDP (Growth Domestic Product) growth. We could have been up almost 4 percent," Harper says.

According to Harper, the shrinkage in government spending should be less in 2014, with some of the hardest hits already with Sequestration.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Florida’s general revenue estimate for Florida, which projects what the sales and use tax revenues will be.   The latest forecast from state economists shows an increase o f$300 million relative to the summer projection. 

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses holiday retail sales, noting that the forecast calls for a relatively soft season.  Specifically, he says Cyber Monday shopping continues to grow at a higher rate than in stores, although the rate of growth is more modest than the 8 to 10 percent clip in years past.  One of the marketing tools created to combat that trend is Small Business Saturday.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest on the Senate confirmation of Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.  Her nomination passed 14-8 through the Senate Banking Committee this week, and Harper expects her floor vote in the Senate will go well.  But, he believes Yellen will face big challenges as the economy continues a slow recovery.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Florida Gaming Impact Study and various issues related to the Florida Legislature’s plans to address the comprehensive gaming legislation in the 2014 session.  The Florida Senate Committee on Gaming is holding a series of public hearings around the state.  One of those was held this week at Pensacola State College.

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