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Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer

Jeff Harrington

Jeff Harrington has been an editor and reporter at the Tampa Bay Times since 1998, primarily working in Business news. He currently covers the economy, banking and insurance among other areas.

A native Ohioan, Jeff graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a dual major in American Studies and French. He worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago, Toledo Blade and Cincinnati Enquirer before winding his way down Interstate 75 to the Tampa Bay area.

He has received numerous awards for business and metro writing, including recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Associated Press, among others. He was a past finalist and a winner of a Gerald Loeb award honoring the best business writing in the country and his work has been included in the Best Business Stories of the Year series.

Phone: (727) 893-8242


Twitter: @JeffMHarrington

  1. iQor closing St. Petersburg tech repair facility, cutting 76 jobs


    ST. PETERSBURG — Less than two years after moving its international headquarters to downtown St. Petersburg, tech call center and repair company iQor US is shrinking its operation here.

    The company plans to close its Telmar Network repair facility at 9700 18th St. N, idling 76 workers, according to a WARN layoff notice filed with the state this week.

    The layoffs are expected to occur between Dec. 16 and the shutdown of the facility on Feb. 28. Sandra Gobbo, iQor vice president of human resources, wrote state officials and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman with a breakdown of affected job classifications, many of them directly involved with equipment repair. ...

    Hartmut Liebel is iQor’s CEO. The company’s headquarters relocated to St. Petersburg.
  2. Florida adds 23,000 jobs in September while unemployment rate is unchanged


    Florida can't move the needle to lower its unemployment rate, which remained stuck at 4.7 percent in September for the fifth straight month.

    But that's not entirely a bad thing.

    In fact, the jobs report released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity shows the state continues to make headway in its agonizingly long jobs recovery:

    • Florida added a healthy 23,000 jobs over the month, third-best in the country behind Texas and California and down slightly from 24,500 in August. ...

    Gov. Rick Scott noted the addition of 17,900 private-sector jobs during a ribbon-cutting at Uniform Advantage in Fort Lauderdale.
  3. How do this year's presidential debate catch phrases compare to those from elections past?


    Donald Trump talks about returning to a time when America was great — a superpower that didn't worry about Mexico or China stealing its jobs. Hillary Clinton yearns for those years of economic prosperity when her husband was in the White House and, at least early on, there was a semblance of bipartisanship.

    The high degree of base insults and accusations flying during the first two presidential debates may have put some voters in a throwback mood as well. As we head into the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, here's a look back at how the vernacular has changed compared to those presidential (and vice presidential) showdowns of yester-election year:...

    Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, left, and Sen. Dan Quayle shake hands in an Oct. 5, 1988 file photo, after their vice presidential debate in Omaha, Neb. Bensten memorably told Quayle he was "no Jack Kennedy." (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
  4. Brandon-based Platinum Bank is bought for $83.9M


    Platinum Bank of Brandon, one of the largest community banks based in Tampa Bay, is being bought by CenterState Banks Inc. of Winter Haven for $83.9 million in cash and stock.

    The deal announced Tuesday morning will create the third-largest community bank in Tampa Bay.

    CenterState said the acquisition complements its existing footprint with five out of seven Platinum branches within 1.25 miles of existing CenterState locations....

    Platinum Bank CEO Jerry Kyle said he is excited about the merger.
  5. Here's why gas prices in Florida have risen since Hurricane Matthew


    Call it the Hurricane Matthew effect.

    Until the market showed signs of stabilizing on Sunday, gas prices had risen 16 consecutive days in Florida for a total jump of 11 cents, in large part due to supply chains disrupted by the storm, AAA reported. That's in sharp contrast to elsewhere in much of the country where gas prices have been heading down the past couple weeks.

    Price-tracker reported a similar trend: Average retail gas prices in Tampa have risen 8.2 cents per gallon over the past week, averaging $2.19 a gallon on Sunday based on GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,260 gas outlets in Tampa. ...

    Gas prices have risen 8.2 cents per gallon the past week in Tampa, reported. [Getty Images]
  6. Tampa Bay neighborhood ravaged by the housing crash makes its way back; but could it happen again?

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — During the boom years of the early 2000s, the dream of home ownership lured hundreds of buyers to a new community called Kings Lake.

    For less than $135,000, they could get a two-story house with four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. They could get mortgages with little or nothing down. No worry — prices were quickly heading up, doubling in a couple of years.

    Until the market crashed....

    Julio Gonzales works on his car in the garage of his Kings Lake home. Gonzales, 37, his wife, and three children have been renting here for two years. Gonzales said his children are active in sports and he likes their school, but he said he doesn't know his neighbors. [LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]
  7. New communities are springing up in south Hillsborough as older ones still recover from the crash

    Real Estate

    GIBSONTON — As the first houses started going up in the Kings Lake community 15 years ago, there wasn't much else in Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River.

    No Amazon distribution center. No St. Joseph's Hospital. No Publix within 10 miles.

    Now there's all that and more, including a huge master-planned community, Waterset, directly across Big Bend Road from Kings Lake....

    With 87 homes sold in a single three-month period this year, Waterset is the fastest-growing new-home community in Tampa Bay. 
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times]
  8. St. Petersburg-based Triad Retail Media bought for reported $300 million


    ST. PETERSBURG — British advertising and public relations giant WPP has bought Triad Retail Media, a fast-growing St. Petersburg-based company that helps retailers sell ads on their websites.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal online said the sales price was roughly $300 million, citing people familiar with the matter.

    Founded in 2004 as an independent company, Triad nearly four years ago was bought by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, a private equity firm founded by Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert. Under the deal announced Thursday, it will become part of WPP 's digital ad-buying group Xaxis....

    Triad CEO Roger Berdusco expects more  growth.
  9. ADP: Florida private sector job growth picks up in September


    Florida added 18,800 private sector jobs in September, an increase from a month earlier and a strong sign that the economic recovery is still chugging along, according to a report released Wednesday morning.

    Florida moved up a spot, ranking second behind only Texas, which added an impressive 24,900 private jobs last month, payroll processor ADP's Regional Employment Report showed. The other traditional top-three state, California, fell from first to third with 17,400 new jobs, down significantly from 27,800 jobs it added a month earlier....

    Florida added 18,800 private sector jobs in September, including 1,000 in manufacturing, a new report shows. [Times file photo]
  10. Economic impact of Hurricane Matthew may be a wash


    The economic toll for Hurricane Matthew's sideswipe on Florida's Atlantic coast and into the Carolinas will rise into the billions of dollars, with storm surge wreaking the most havoc and the tourism and agriculture industries hit hardest.

    But with Florida spared a direct hit and power being restored quickly to many of those affected, Matthew never turned into the monster here that was feared — either in terms of derailing the state's economic recovery or hurting its still fragile property insurance industry....

    Crews with U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater flew over the east coast of Florida and into Georgia to survey damage.
  11. Why are Citizens Property Insurance policyholders statewide paying for a 'water claims' crisis in south Florida?


    Citizen Property Insurance is in a crisis. And it has nothing to do with the usual suspects troubling the state-run homeowners insurance company: sinkholes or hurricanes. You can't even blame Hurricane Matthew for this.

    Instead, Citizens is being deluged by litigation — much of which it questions as fraudulent — over nonweather-related water damage caused by things like busted water pipes or leaky roofs. It has become so bad that more than $1,500 of the $2,412 annual premium collected for the most common type of Citizens policy goes toward paying water claims. ...

    Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier approved a 6.4 percent average rate hike statewide to help cover legal costs for water claims suits.
  12. Stock in Florida property insurers falls as Hurricane Matthew bears down


    Stocks in property insurance companies based in Florida tumbled Thursday as the threat grew that Hurricane Matthew could cause major damage along the Atlantic Coast.

    Among Florida stocks taking a significant hit were the biggest private property insurer in Florida, Universal Insurance, which fell 12 percent. United Insurance was down 8 percent; Federated National down 8 percent; HCI Group was down 13 percent and Heritage was down 10 percent....

    A man and a woman walk on Jacksonville Beach Thursday as waves and wind begin to pick up ahead of the approach of Hurricane Matthew.
[Associated Press]

  13. Hurricane Matthew has the Florida insurance industry bracing for its biggest test in a decade


    Nearly 25 years after it was decimated by Andrew and a decade after it was hobbled by a two-year torrent of hurricanes, the first big test for Florida's rebuilt property insurance industry has arrived.

    The insurance industry nationally and in Florida is arguably in its best financial shape to date to pay for a surge of storm claims from Hurricane Matthew.

    Nationally, the property and casualty industry this week reported a second-quarter surplus topping a record $680 billion, which is more than a dozen times bigger than the largest catastrophe on record: 2005's Hurricane Katrina....

    Hurricane Matthew approaches at Lauderdale by the Sea Beach on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale.
[Sun Sentinel/TNS]

  14. Citizens Property Insurance suspends writing policies as Hurricane Matthew threatens Florida


    Though Tampa Bay is far removed from Hurricane Matthew's current track, the storm already is affecting property owners here — particularly those buying and selling a home.

    When a hurricane or tropical storm threatens any part of Florida, state-run Citizens Property Insurance suspends writing new policies or adding coverage to existing policies throughout the state. For Citizens — which has about 103,000 Tampa Bay area policies — that suspension went into effect at 11 a.m. Tuesday....

    This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 at 09:45 AM EDT shows Hurricane Matthew over the south central Caribbean Sea. (Weather Underground via AP) NY4C
  15. ATM and overdraft fees are higher in Tampa Bay than the national average, study finds


    As ATM fees set a record high for the 10th year in a row, Tampa Bay ranks in the upper half of costliest markets for consumers who go out of their bank's network to get quick cash.'s annual checking survey found the total cost of an out-of-network ATM withdrawal has risen to an average $4.57. The average fee for overdrafting one's checking account stood at $33.04 nationally.

    Tampa Bay has the nation's ninth-highest average out-of-network ATM fee ($4.75) among the 25 markets studied by along with the 11th highest average overdraft fee ($33.50)....

    ATM and overdraft fees are higher in Tampa Bay than the national average, a study has found. istockphoto