Rick Harper

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses early childhood learning, which is the subject of the third and final installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola Metro area.

Harper is director of the Institute, in addition to his role as director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the second installment of the Studer Community Institute’s three part series on education in the Pensacola area.

Photo via Flickr// Matt Deavenport / https://flic.kr/p/p2yo5f

If you wondered why you spent a little more time in line at attractions last year, or it took a bit longer to find an unoccupied spot at the beach, the numbers are in to explain.

Almost 4%  more people came to the Sunshine State in 2014 over the previous year, according to figures released by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm. That’s inching closer to an annual goal sought by Gov. Rick Scott.

“This is a great day: 97.3 million tourists,” said the Governor. “I look forward to passing 100 million tourists.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Studer Community Institute’s launch of a three-part series focusing on education in the Pensacola area.

Harper is director of the Institute, which is a not-for-profit organization that highlights important issues in the Pensacola community and works towards innovative solutions.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses his recent economic column, in which he details how sales data reflect seasonal ebb and flow of tourist traffic.

“That’s an important issue for Florida,” said Harper. He notes that the central and southern portions of the state, such as Miami, Naples, Sarasota and Punta Gorda, tend to attract their highest level of visitor traffic in the January through March/April time period.

http://aerosyncsupport.com

“Operation Airwolf” has come to fruition in Santa Rosa County, with the addition of a helicopter repair facility in Milton’s Santa Rosa Industrial Park. The jobs created are expected to average around $60,000 per year.

“Airwolf” was the code name for Aerosync Support Incorporated, which has purchased the old West Coast Metal Roofing building. Plans call for the firm to spend about $2 million for renovations. The plant will then join other Aerosync facilities in Wichita, Kansas and Bogotá, Colombia.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses several recently announced economic developments in Northwest Florida.

In Pensacola, the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition announced that it’s ready to resume the planned expansion of its downtown research facility, after a near year-long delay due to the April 2014 flooding.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of Governor Rick Scott’s recommended education budget, the improving housing industry, and Visit Florida’s “Destination 2020” tourism plan.

In his "Keep Florida Working" budget plan for 2015-2016, Gov. Scott is proposing historic per pupil funding of $7,176, an increase of $50 over the previous record for fiscal year 2007-2008. 

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of local job growth during last year, which he details in his latest bi-weekly economics column.

The headline is ‘Pensacola-area job growth was better than expected in 2014.’

“What was really good news is that for the most recent twelve months, we actually saw a 3,400 job increase,” said Harper. That’s an increase of about 2.1 percent, which is slightly above the national figure of 2.0 percent, and a bit below Florida’s rate of 3.0 percent.

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.

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