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.

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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.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper shares details from the November 2014 jobs report, updates the holiday shopping season, and reviews the summer tourism season in Northwest Florida.

The latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Dec. 5, shows that employment rose by 321,000 in November, compared with an average monthly gain of 224,000 over the prior 12 months.

University of West Florida

  In this week’s Economic Report on WUWF, Dr. Rick Harper discusses data on this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping days, what's projected in the latest jobs report, and the hiring of a new economic development coordinator at the Haas Center.

In taking a closer look at Black Friday, holiday weekend sales dropped by eleven percent, relative to last year. The projection had been a growth in sales of 9-11%. Cyber Monday sales rose 8%.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the big holiday shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Of course, Black Friday is starting earlier, now on Thanksgiving Day for some retail outlets.

According to Harper, projections call for just a modest increase in retail sales on Black Friday 2014 over previous years. “If it were a healthy, robust economy, we’d expect to see maybe a five to seven percent increase in same store sales. But retail analysts are expecting to see less than that,” said Harper.

University of West Florida

  In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a new matching grant program recently launched by his Office of Economic Development and Engagement at The University of West Florida.

“It’s an exciting time for our office, and hopefully for the region,” said Harper, executive director of the UWF OEDE.The initiative provides $1.5 million in matching grants to connect Northwest Florida businesses with research resources available through UWF.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses significant local happenings, including Pensacola’s new 12-day fall cultural event, the Foo Foo Festival.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Navy Federal Credit Union’s official announcement regarding plans to continue expanding its operations in Pensacola, bringing 5,000 new jobs and $350 million in capital investment to the region by 2026.

“It’s great news for the economy, probably $400 million a year in economic impact from the payroll in both direct employment, plus the ripple effect,” says Harper.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium, set take place Monday and Tuesday, Oct 13 and 14 at the Baytowne Conference Center in Sandestin. This year’s theme is ‘Game Plan for the Future…What’s Your Next Move?

“It’s a super event,” says Harper. “It’s really the one chance where business leaders, analysts, guests from around the nation, who are expert in various areas of economics and business, get together to talk about where’ve been in Northwest Florida and where we’re going.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s ITEN Wired Regional Technology Summit. The event, taking place October 2-3 in Pensacola, is aimed at fostering local economic development efforts surrounding innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

“It’s an exciting event,” said Harper, noting that this is the eleventh year for the conference, which is sponsored by the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest Gross Domestic Product. The GDP report released last week was the second of three estimates for the second quarter. “The good news is that it’s up relative to the initial estimate,” says Harper. 

The initial estimate had been 4 percent.  The revised rate is 4.2% GDP growth. The biggest gains were in the areas of consumer spending, exports, and business investment spending.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reviews where the region is ‘10 years on from Hurricane Ivan.’ The devastating storm struck the Florida-Alabama gulf coast, coming ashore at Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16, 2004.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest three-year economic outlook for Florida from the Legislature’s chief economist Amy Baker, head of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

The budget outlook is presented every August. Harper says after a bit of a slow start to 2014, January through May, the state appears to be getting back on track. “Now for the new fiscal year, which in Florida starts July 1 and runs through June 30, the forecast is that total revenues will be up about $1 Billion for this fiscal year.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses job growth for the month of August.

This week, just days before the official U.S. Labor Department report, the payroll processing firm ADP (Automated Data Processing) released a report projecting that some 200, 000 new jobs were added in August.

“That’s a little bit lower than the consensus forecast by economists who track the job market,” says Harper.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper, assistant vice president of economic development at the University of West Florida, discusses the latest jobless claims report.

The U.S. Department of Labor report for the week ended Aug. 23 showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a second straight week last week to 298,000, with a four-week average at 299,750.

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