Economy

What “economic development” really includes

Rick Harper

In the latest economic update with WUWF, Dr. Rick Harper says the shift in focus for the community summit hosted this week by Pensacola Habitat for Humanity indicates the broader view of economic development.

Harper said companies that are being recruited to come to a community look at things such as the quality of education and the level of crime to see what their employees could expect.

“So it’s important not just for businesses but also for potential employees and we’ve got to start making the grade,” Harper said. “We’ve got to look at what it will take to get our community where we want it to be, where it’s livable across the community, where there is economic opportunity, and where people can have a good chance at upward mobility by locating in Pensacola. And I think that’s the longer run goal, probably all about the chance for upward economic mobility.”

Harper and his team at the University of West Florida helped develop the Pensacola Metro Dashboard with the Studer Community Institute staff in 2014.

The Studer Community Institute's Pensacola Metro Dashboard.

The Studer Community Institute’s Pensacola Metro Dashboard.

That dashboard uses 16 data points to measure the social, economic and educational well-being of the community. The data points range from per capita income to crime rate, from number of rent-burdened households to the kindergarten readiness and high school graduation rates.

To read all of Harper’s weekly report, click here.