09/30/14 Personal Finance
Florida consumer confidence has inched back up to the highest level since April 2007, before both the Great Recession struck and the Mild Recovery began.
The index, which is measured monthly through a University of Florida survey, rose in September to 83.
"This is a welcome development given that consumer sentiment has been flat for the last few months," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center. "While we are still about 10 points behind where we would like to be at this point in a recovery, confidence among Floridians is heading in the right direction." ...
LabTech Software, a Tampa-based IT company, is adding 100 jobs at its Tampa corporate headquarters by 2016 in a strong boost to efforts to lure higher-paying technology jobs to the area.
CEO Matt Nachtrab said he was excited that LabTech Software could contribute to a growing IT presence in Tampa Bay. "Tampa has become our home, and we're thrilled that our commitment to the growth of the LabTech product and our commitment to the local economy can go hand-in-hand," he said in a statement....
Call it Florida's hidden economy, one with a grayish tinge.
Floridians 50 or older make up just 38 percent of the state's population. Yet, despite being fewer in number, they have a bigger economic impact than younger residents here.
The older generation generates 54 percent of the state's economic output, works in 58 percent of the state's jobs, and pays 67 percent of state and local taxes. It also accounts for 58 percent of total consumer spending, the chief driver to keep the economy churning....
09/25/14 Economic Development
White & Case, a global law firm with offices in 26 countries, has opened a services center in Tampa, creating about 100 jobs.
The center, which consolidates several of the company's business and legal support functions, is in leased space at the Tampa Bay Business Park, 3111 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. In addition to recruiting local talent, the law firm is also relocating some current employees from the New York area to Tampa....
Electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit closed its fiscal year with a fourth-quarter loss of $26.2 million, hampered in part by nearly $20 million in restructuring costs.
However, the St. Petersburg company's core income, revenue and forecast for the 2015 fiscal year all topped analysts' predictions, sparking a jump in after-market trading Wednesday.
Its quarterly revenue of $4.1 billion was down from $4.5 billion a year ago, but higher than projections of $3.8 billion. Excluding the one-time charges, Jabil had core earnings of 5 cents a share, beating projections that it would break even. In the year-ago quarter, Jabil posted net income of $127 million, or 61 cents a share. ...
Florida property owners will stop paying a 1 percent emergency assessment on their insurance bills two years earlier than planned under a recommendation approved Wednesday by the board of Citizens Property Insurance.
For the average homeowner, that translates into a total savings of about $40 over two years.
Citizens was allowed to tack the assessment on to Florida property policies after eight storms during the 2004-05 hurricane seasons left the state-run insurer with a deficit of more than $1.7 billion. The assessments, used to pay off a bond, were supposed to last 10 years. ...
09/19/14 Personal Finance
After a dramatic drop in Florida's unemployment rate over a three-year span, 2014 looks like a year of economic stagnation.
Bouncing between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent since December, Florida's unemployment rate ticked back up a notch to 6.3 percent in August, according to figures released Friday. Florida added a relatively strong 22,700 jobs last month, but that follows a month in which it lost 1,600 jobs. For many, wage growth is elusive. ...
Median household income in Tampa Bay has sunk lower than it was in 2010, the early days of recovery from the Great Recession, cementing the bay area's dead-last ranking in income among the country's 25 biggest metro areas.
Things aren't much better across the state. Miami, the only other Florida city on the list, comes in at second lowest. Tampa Bay and Miami are the only two metro areas with median household income languishing below $50,000. (Median income means half are above that and half below.)...
Shares in Tampa treasure hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration dived nearly 19 percent Tuesday, making the stock one of the bigger losers on Wall Street.
The stock closed at 90 cents a share, down 21 cents, dipping below $1 for the first time in years. It was the fifth worst performance among companies trading on Nasdaq.
The company has been under pressure since last year from short sellers who question its financial viability....
09/16/14 Economic Development
Tampa Bay's economic growth slowed last year, but it still outperformed most other metro areas.
The bay area's economic output — the metro version of the country's gross domestic product — rose 2.3 percent last year, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That's down from Tampa Bay's bounceback year of 2012, when its economy grew by 3.2 percent. But it's better than the overall U.S. growth of 1.7 percent and better than all other major Florida metros except Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, whose economy jumped 2.4 percent....
Drivers from Florida and Georgia are apparently driving each other crazy.
Florida ranked 23rd and Georgia 25th among states with the rudest drivers based on a new survey by consumer insurance information website insure.com.
But when drivers from individual states were asked where their rudest counterparts resided, Florida road warriors pointed to Georgia as the worst of the worst … while Georgians pointed right back to Florida....
United Insurance Holdings is buying AAA Auto Club's downtown St. Petersburg office building for $2.6 million with plans to convert it into the insurance company's new headquarters.
United Insurance has been housed in leased space nearby at 360 Central Ave. but was running out of space.
CEO John Forney noted that since he began running the company in 2012, its employee base has grown from fewer than 50 to 120, and it's now licensed in 14 states, up from two....
ST. PETERSBURG — What happens when you mesh together a bunch of creative minds in the credit union industry for a 24-hour brainstorming session, with teams competing to find the next transformational idea?
Mike Kelly can't wait to find out.
As president of PSCU, a St. Petersburg-based company that handles customer service and technology issues for hundreds of credit unions nationwide, Kelly on Thursday morning kicked off the company's third annual "Knockout" competition. ...
09/11/14 Real Estate
Signaling that Florida's housing woes are far from over, foreclosure starts rose 24 percent statewide in August, according to figures being released today by industry data tracker RealtyTrac.
In Tampa Bay, one in every 407 housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, the seventh highest rate among metro areas nationwide. Filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions....
After a tepid July, creation of private sector jobs in Florida got back on track last month, according to a report released Wednesday.
Florida added 17,900 private sector jobs in August, about double the number added in July, national payroll processing company ADP said. That's much closer to the monthly total of jobs Florida was adding in the spring.
ADP said Florida in August continued to be among the leaders in generating jobs, trailing only Texas (up 26,690 jobs) and California (up 19,680 jobs)....