Consumer confidence is bouncing around somewhere between "I don't want to look" and "Tell me when it's over." But as our fourth annual Biz Quiz arrives, all is not gloomy.
Indeed, there are signs aplenty of growth. Tampa Bay is home to 68 of Inc. 5000's fastest-growing companies. High-end burger joints are sprouting everywhere. And the Seminole Tris planning a $75 million expansion of its Hard Rock Casino in Tampa that promises to add 750 more slot machines! (along with adding 430 workers to its payroll of 3,000).
On the other hand, Bright House still doesn't offer the NFL Network.
So, here's an eclectic mix of local and national business news to test how well you've been paying attention. Give yourself a point for each correct answer.
1. Who indicated he has a secret plan to fix something, but won't give any details?
a. President Obama, talking about the economy.
b. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, talking about keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the market.
c. A Bright House Networks spokesman, talking about widespread service outages.
d. Teamsters president James P. Hoffa, talking about dealing with tea partiers.
e. Actor Charlie Sheen, talking about resurrecting his career.
2. As of Friday, what was the most valuable public company in the country?
a. Exxon Mobil Corp.
b. Apple Inc.
c. Bank of America Corp.
d. IBM Corp.
e. We Buy Gold Inc.
3. Drawing inspiration from one of his predecessors, Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently spent part of a "workday" filling in as an everyday Floridian doing the following:
a. Making doughnuts.
b. Making Cuban sandwiches.
c. Making machine parts.
d. Making credit card payments.
4. QE3 stands for:
a. The next cruise ship sailing out of Tampa: the Queen Elizabeth III.
b. A battleship maneuver.
c. The Federal Reserve's potential next attempt to stimulate borrowing.
d. New regulatory hurdles that will make it harder to borrow.
e. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Season 3.
5. Tampa International Airport chief Joe Lopano quickly backed off his proposal to:
a. Support flights to Cuba.
b. Let airport executives fly business class on domestic flights.
c. Put signs up inside TIA saying: "Welcome to the Auto Insurance Fraud Capital of the Country."
d. Merge with St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
6. What pioneering business icon recently stepped down from his company leadership post?
a. Apple's Steve Jobs.
b. Dell's Michael Dell.
c. GE's Jeff Immelt.
d. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.
e. Burger King's creepy king.
7. Tampa Bay financial adviser Harry S. Dent Jr. is coming out with a book this month that predicts:
a. The Dow Jones Industrial Average may fall as low as 3,000.
b. Unemployment will gravitate toward 15 percent.
c. Housing prices in Florida may fall up to 35 percent more.
d. All of the above.
e. None of the above.
8. Who said the U.S. could be on the path to becoming a banana republic?
a. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
b. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
c. House Speaker John Boehner.
d. Economist Paul Krugman.
e. Who hasn't said it?
9. The recent stock market fall and the rising specter of a double-dip recession has sparked comparisons to:
10. Based on current projections, put the following in order, starting with what's expected to happen first.
a. Progress Energy will open its new nuclear plant in Levy County.
b. Florida's unemployment rate is expected to fall to a more normal level of 6 percent.
c. Barring new funding or changes, Medicare will become insolvent.
d. Barring new funding or changes, Social Security's disability program will become insolvent.
Bonus Question (2 points):
Including the just-released August number, for how many months has Florida's unemployment rate been in the double digits?