Rick Harper

Photo via Flickr//debra32514

International Paper plans to spend more $90 million to upgrade its Cantonment plant’s energy efficiency along with its production of containerboard and fluff pulp that’s used for packing materials.

According to a news release from IP, the five-year commitment will be supported by roughly $5 million in grants and infrastructure improvements. Currently, the plant,which opened in 1941 and was acquired by IP in 2000, has a workforce of about 400 and pumped about $330 million into the local economy last year.

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.

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 announcement this week regarding his new position with the Studer Institute.

A partnership with UWF will allow Harper to become Director of the Institute.

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.

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