Rick Harper

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 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.

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.”

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