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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Circus magic? After layoffs, Ringling company vies for millions in job creation



TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey can still collect up to $3.7 million from state and local government for job creation even after it announced one of the state's largest layoffs since 2015.

Feld Entertainment's "The Greatest Show on Earth" will take a final bow in May that will cost 462 people — including dozens of Floridians — their jobs. Out of the nearly 200 companies that have announced layoffs in Florida the past two years, Feld's will be the sixth largest.

Yet despite the setback, Feld will continue to collect millions for job creation because the company classifies 400 of the lost jobs as "based on the road."

These are traveling jobs. Even though many who hold the jobs live in Florida, the jobs themselves are on the road for nearly the entire year.

"They are not Florida-based jobs and therefore do not count as part of the incentive calculation," said Casey Rodgers, vice president of Financial and Strategic Planning for Feld.

Even if the lost jobs did count against the agreements, company officials said they'd be outweighed by all the other new jobs they are creating.

"Feld Entertainment will hit all of their job creation goals, as outlined in our agreement," said Stephen Yaros, Senior Vice President Global Public Relations, Feld Entertainment, Inc. "We are currently creating more jobs at a faster pace and at a higher average wage than anticipated."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 8:01am]


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