Economic Report

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest manufacturing numbers, the role economic incentives play in our area and why the trade deficit isn’t decreasing any time soon. The U.S. Department of Commerce released its October report on U.S. factory orders, and the numbers were much better than expected. “Orders are up 2.7 percent. This is the fourth month in a row that factory orders have been up,” Harper said. “We actually got an upwardly revised number for the prior...


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper looks at the latest ADP report on job growth, talks about potential tax cuts in the Trump administration and what those reductions could mean for Northwest Florida.

Harper said the report from the ADP, the nation’s largest payroll processor, which comes out two days before the federal statistics on jobs that are released on the first Friday of every month, yielded “surprisingly good” results.

“What we’re expecting...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about his recent economic outlook presentation to the Pensacola Rotary Club where he discussed issues that will face our next president, including interest rates, the national debt and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

With less than a week to the election, Harper spoke to the group about where the economy stands now and what we could see after all the votes are counted, particularly with the Federal Reserve and the...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses an unexpected rise in new home sales, explains why it may be time to reexamine the Consumer Price Index and when BP oil spill relief funds could start funding projects in the area.
Beating expectations, new home sales rose 3.1 percent in September and Harper said that the increase shows conflicting signs in the home sale market.

“We’ve talked in recent weeks about the surprising drop in multi-family housing starts,”...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses an unexpected drop in housing starts in September and what it means for the larger economic landscape. Also, the SBDC released its first Florida Small Business Survey. Housing starts for September were down 9 percent from August and down 12 percent from September 2015, but Harper said digging deeper into the numbers from the Commerce Department’s monthly report reveals a really mixed bag. “For single family home starts, the report was...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses a new Pew Research Center that looks at the state of American jobs. He also talked about the ITEN Wired summit, an annual networking and educational conference for tech and knowledge-based industries.

The study, which spans 1980-2015, finds that jobs that require higher levels of skill are growing faster than those that require fewer skills.

“If you look at 1980, about half of jobs required average to above...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 20th annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium held earlier this week in Panama City. More than 500 people attended the sold-out event. Harper said the event’s reputation as a world-class symposium has grown along with its attendance. “It’s really grown in stature around the region,” Harper said. “It’s a great networking event with a lot of great speakers, and I thought this year’s symposium was particularly good.” The focus of this...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the reasons that the Federal Reserve continues to hold interest rates and what tools they have at their disposal to normalize the economy. After last week’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would once again hold interest rates, many were left wondering why, particularly when low interest rates hurt those trying to save. “It has been so long. This January will mark eight consecutive years that the short-term interest rate that the...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about the Federal Reserve once again holding interest rates despite projections that an increase was coming in September. Most observers had anticipated that the Fed would raise rates by 0.25 percent, and many were caught off guard by their decision. “The Federal Open Market Committee held firm at the existing low interest rates,” Harper said. “We haven’t had an increase since December 2015.” At the beginning of this year, Harper believed...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the new Census Bureau report on the economic progress of American families released by the White House this week. Among the findings in the report was the fact that household income grew at the fastest rate on record in 2015. “It was a great report,” Harper said. “We’ve been tracking statistics on median household income adjusted for inflation. Economists call that real median household income.” Median household income represents the...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about a recent CNBC poll that finds many in the economic field are unsure of the Federal Reserve’s plans. He also discussed how the unexpected fall of existing homes sales creates uncertainty in the marketplace. Members of the Fed are meeting at an economic policy symposium in Wyoming this week, but a new CNBC survey finds that many money managers, economists and others in the financial field have little confidence that the Fed has a plan...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about how unexpectedly strong housing numbers are bolstering the third-quarter GDP outlook for the U.S. Housing starts rose 2.1 percent in July, far exceeding expectations. However, Harper said the bump didn’t affect all areas of the country. “The Northeast dropped off very substantially,” Harper said. “But, we saw increases in the South and West.” Harper said that there are several factors driving the housing boom, but most importantly is...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the surprisingly strong monthly jobs report and the future of parking in downtown Pensacola. The Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report smashed estimates for July, with Florida near the top of the U.S. in growth. “It was a great first Friday jobs report,” Harper said. “We came in at 255,000. The consensus among analysts had been for about 180,000 job growth.” Harper said that if job growth remains at 200,000 or above for a sustained...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper talks about an unexpected boost in the latest jobs numbers, an uptick in consumer spending, what sales tax means to Florida and the problematic state of tobacco use in our area. The ADP Research Institute’s job report for July was released this week and showed strong growth yet again for the month. “It looks like July jobs are going to come in fairly strong,” Harper said. “The ADP report, released on Wednesday before the federal report on Friday...

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the July tourism boom, the effect of Brexit on the U.S. housing market and the call to repeal the commercial real estate sales tax. July means big business for tourism and leisure and hospitality industries in the Panhandle, and this year is no exception. “Here in Pensacola, we’ve got the Blue Angels air show weekend, which is not quite the same as it was last year where you could come on a Friday, enjoy the Fourth of July and stick...

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