U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

WUWF Public Media

In 2015, the nation’s economic recovery continued its slow, steady improvement. And, now as the year comes to a close, we’re taking a look at some of the economic highlights during the past 12 months here in Northwest Florida.

“Actually, good news, of course, with unemployment,” said University of West Florida economist Rick Harper, referring to the 5.0 percent unemployment rate recorded in October of 2015 for the Pensacola Metro area, which includes Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses economic developments in Europe, with analysis of the economic crisis in Greece.

“We’re on the verge of seeing a Greek exit from the European Monetary System,” Harper said as the Greek government was holding an emergency meeting to discuss making another bid for financial help from the European Union.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the start of spring break, the latest job growth and unemployment statistics, and “stress tests” for the nation’s biggest banks.

Across northwest Florida, Panama City has the strongest spring break season.

Even though students spending their spring break on area beaches this week have more fog than sun, Harper says economic indicators are pointing to a good spring break period across the board.

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 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, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projecting economic growth for 2014.

“It’s down somewhat...and a little disappointing” says Harper, noting IMF’s world GDP growth forecast of 3.4 percent for the remainder of the year. That's a little better than the 3.2% the world economy managed in 2013. However, their April forecast had been 3.6%. “So it’s a slight slowdown and we’re seeing that in a couple of different countries.”

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper reflects on Blue Angels weekend on Pensacola Beach. ‘Red, White and Blues Week’ follows the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which provides a critical boost to the local tourism industry over a stretch of about a week-and-a-half.

New numbers from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show that the state's unemployment rate edged up slightly in May to 6.3%. That translates to about 606,000 jobless Floridians.

The bump in the rate, from April’s 6.2% mark, was not totally unexpected. Economists had projected it to grow slightly, as more people began seeking work as the economic recovery continues. DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio says concentrate on the big picture.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses more signs of a strengthening economy on a national level.