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

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the meeting of state economists this week in Tallahassee. Florida has an office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) that reports on the economy to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

“EDR every year has to produce the state economic outlook.  And, one of the most important reasons to do that is because the governor as we head into autumn is going to be evaluating various proposals for state programs or tax relief and has to know the health of the economy,” says Harper.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the benefits of the Back-to-School Tax Free Holiday that’s taking place this weekend (Aug 1-3), in Florida and Alabama. This is the second of three sales tax holidays in Florida this year.

The Hurricane Tax Free Holiday was held May 31-June 8. In September, there will be a sales tax holiday on the purchase of energy efficient appliances.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projecting economic growth for 2014.

“It’s down somewhat...and a little disappointing” says Harper, noting IMF’s world GDP growth forecast of 3.4 percent for the remainder of the year. That's a little better than the 3.2% the world economy managed in 2013. However, their April forecast had been 3.6%. “So it’s a slight slowdown and we’re seeing that in a couple of different countries.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on Blue Angels weekend on Pensacola Beach. ‘Red, White and Blues Week’ follows the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which provides a critical boost to the local tourism industry over a stretch of about a week-and-a-half.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the month of July to Northwest Florida’s tourism industry.

“In our climate zone, July is far and away the biggest month. It’s the month in which hoteliers and restaurateurs are able to charge top dollar, keep the place full. That’s when they pack away the profits they’ll need to make their lease or mortgage payments throughout the rest of the year,” says Harper, who adds that there are indications that it’s a good July this year.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest first quarter revision of the gross domestic product (GDP).  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP shows a 2.9% drop in the annual rate in January through March, the weakest quarter for the U.S. economy since the Great Recession.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper begins with the latest from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

On Wednesday, Yellen announced that the Fed will continue its current monetary policy, cutting its monthly bond purchases by another $10 billion per month and keeping its key federal funds rate near zero. Further, she told a news conference that inflation was expected to move gradually back to the central bank's 2 percent target.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the factors behind Florida’s inclusion on a list “The Biggest Losers: The 5 Worst State Economies,” as reported by CNN Money.

Each of the states is listed in part due to the decrease in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2007 and 2013.

Nevada topped the list, with a 10% drop in GDP. Florida followed with a GDP of -7%.  Also in the top five are Connecticut, Arizona and Michigan.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses more signs of a strengthening economy on a national level.

UWF

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a report that shows the nation’s economy shrank in the first quarter of 2014, the first downturn since early 2011.

The government initially said first quarter GDP grew at a 0.1% annual rate. That figure was revised downward to -0.1%.

UWF

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend which we traditionally think of as the kickoff to the summer tourist season so we checked in with Dr. Rick Harper about how the season is looking.

UWF

In this week's Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses more of the economic fall out from the April 30 storm and flooding. The destruction of such natural disasters typically generates spending that is funded primarily through insurance claims, individual savings, and FEMA assistance. Earlier this week, President Obama signed a Disaster Declaration for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, clearing the way for federal aid.

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. 

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.

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:

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