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)....
To find Amalie Oil Co.'s headquarters, journey deep into the downtown Tampa industrial labyrinth known as Port Tampa Bay.
Hidden beyond a cluster of massive storage tanks and warehouses, there lies a nondescript, one-story gray building that housed the port's offices 60 years ago. Though they've expanded multiple times as the company continues to grow, Amalie's offices have a well-worn appearance. ...
HSBC will lay off 83 Tampa office workers
HSBC is laying off 83 workers in its offices at 10210 Windhorst Road in Tampa, the British financial services company said in a notice filed with the state Monday. The cuts will occur between Dec. 31 and April 30, the filing indicated.
HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman said the jobs were part of the company's software development team, which is being consolidated. Half of the jobs are being relocated to Buffalo, N.Y., and half to other global sites....
Up for a challenge? It's less daunting than the new Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens. It won't cost you a single bitcoin. And best of all, if you accept you don't have to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. It's time for the Times’ annual Biz Quiz, a mental melange testing your recollection of recent newsy events near and far. So, buckle up. Stay dry. Oh, and give yourself a point for every correct answer....
State regulators have approved lowering rates for most homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance, the first widespread rate cut by the state-run insurer in years.
Homeowners with multi-peril policies in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Citrus counties are all pegged to receive average rate cuts of 8 percent or higher, far better than the statewide average cut.
The decision reflects a broader improvement in Florida's long-suffering property insurance market after eight hurricane-free years and a big drop in sinkhole claims, thanks to a new state law....
Florida insurance regulators have approved a dozen private insurers to assume more than 425,000 policies from Citizens Property Insurance, the single largest one-time removal of Citizens' policies.
Thursday's decision by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is viewed as a significant step toward Citizens' goal of shrinking its presence in Florida.
The state-run insurer, which has about 933,000 policies and receives about 4,000 new applications a week, is the largest property insurer statewide. That's been a statewide albatross for years because every Floridian with an insurance policy is on the hook to be assessed if Citizens cannot pay claims after a major storm. ...
TAMPA — After a dozen years as the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Tampa Bay Lightning's home has a new name: Amalie Arena.
Amalie Oil Co. is assuming naming rights of the downtown Tampa entertainment arena and concert venue effective immediately, Lightning chairman and owner Jeff Vinik announced Wednesday. The Tampa Bay Times is shifting to become the exclusive print sponsor of the recently renovated 19,204-seat arena....