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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. In 2008, as a national fiscal crisis erupted, he shifted gears from editing to become lead staff writer on the economy, banking, insurance and other money issues.

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 was included in the Best Business Stories of the Year series in 2003.

Phone: (727) 893-8242


Twitter: @JeffMHarrington

  1. Agriculture Secretary says Cuba trade could grow by hundreds of millions


    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack predicts U.S. trade with Cuba could rebound from its current $300 million to close to $500 million with Florida among the states capitalizing the most.

    But to move to the next level, Vilsack urged Congress to go beyond the loosened trade restrictions recently ordered by President Obama. Specifically, he called for Congress to allow his department to promote trade in Cuba as well as other international markets where it is hamstrung....

  2. St. Petersburg ranks as No. 1 millennial draw in Florida

    Personal Finance

    For those who still think of St. Petersburg as luring retirees to hang out in "God's waiting room," the younger generation is poised to make its move.

    St. Petersburg has been singled out by credit card promoter NerdWallet as the best city in Florida for drawing in millennials. Across the bay, Tampa was nipping at its heels as the third-most-attractive market for those ages 20 to 34, while Clearwater came in at No. 12....

  3. Reports show growing financial squeeze for most Florida workers

    Personal Finance

    Economists pinpoint the end of the Great Recession as 2009, but for most Floridians, the financial squeeze has only gotten worse.

    Income disparity is growing faster and there is a higher percentage of low-wage jobs being created in Florida compared with most places in the United States, according to a pair of reports coming out this week.

    The studies found:

    • A whopping 61 percent of job openings in Florida pay less than the estimated living wage for a single adult, according to an analysis by the Alliance for a Just Society, a network pushing for racial, social and economic changes....

  4. Tampa Bay Partnership enters makeover mode ahead of CEO search

    Economic Development

    The Tampa Bay Partnership is in makeover mode.

    In tandem with the launch of a national search for a new CEO, the regional business leadership group is honing its mission to primarily be an advocacy organization promoting the eight-county area, partnership chairman Brian Lamb said Friday.

    In the past, the partnership and its outgoing CEO Stu Rogel had been criticized for being spread too thin between economic development, job promoting, marketing and advocacy. It has struggled to carry through on priorities, such as the failed mass transit effort dubbed Greenlight Pinellas, and dropped other programs. And with its closed-door meetings, communication has been a sore point. ...

    Chairman Brian Lamb says the partnership will be more accountable.
  5. Four forecasts for Tampa Bay in 2015


    It's that time of year in Florida. January ushers in playoff football, Northern visitors and, as always, a flurry of economic and political predictions about the year ahead.

    The Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce brought together four prognosticators Wednesday for its Focus on 2015 breakfast.

    Speakers on topics ranging from tourism to jobs to construction to politics were generally upbeat. But there was at least one grave warning served up along with sausage links and eggs: The Interstate 4 corridor from Tampa to Orlando won't get much of a respite from the negative political ads that dominated 2014....

    Steve Cona III, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors’ Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
  6. Florida unemployment rate falls to 5.6 percent

    Working Life

    Florida's unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in December, cementing a strong year of recovery in the jobs market. The rate, down from November's 5.8 percent, is now the lowest since April 2008.

    In Tampa Bay, the jobless rate improved even more, falling to 5.5 percent, down from 5.9 percent a month earlier.

    Including the boost of 12,700 jobs in December, Florida's workforce added 230,600 jobs for the full year....

    Jesse Panuccio
  7. A new low: Florida offers the fewest weeks of jobless benefits


    Barring a surprising setback, Florida Gov. Rick Scott today will proclaim that the state's economy closed 2014 in its strongest state in nearly seven years thanks to broad-based job creation pushing down the unemployment rate.

    But job seekers bypassed by the recovery aren't celebrating, given another less-trumpeted statistic. Florida has just replaced North Carolina as the state offering the fewest weeks of unemployment benefits in the country. ...

  8. Homeowners insurance: Floridians pay more than double U.S. average


    It's still more expensive to buy homeowners insurance in Florida than anywhere else in the country.

    In fact, Florida homeowners are now paying more than double the national average.

    Average insurance premiums statewide for the most common type of homeowners policy rose nearly 8 percent in 2012 to $2,084, according to data released this week from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners....

    The Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village in Port Richey is flooded after Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. Florida has become the first state to cross the $2,000 mark in average premiums for homeowners insurance policies.
  9. Tampa Bay gas prices about to slip under $2 a gallon


    Tampa Bay drivers: Rev up for a milestone you haven't seen in six years. The average price of gas is poised to fall below $2 a gallon.

    On Monday, average unleaded gas in the bay area dropped to $2.004 a gallon, down a penny from a day earlier and a dime cheaper than a week ago. That means prices have fallen a stunning 40 percent, or $1.30 a gallon, over the past year, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report. ...

    The average price of gasoline in the Tampa Bay area topped $4 a gallon in July 2008. By January 2009, the Great Recession had forced the average price to drop to $1.57 a gallon.
  10. Could insurance chief could be next high-level official Scott asks to leave?


    Kevin McCartyBy Jeff Harrington and Mary Ellen Klas...

  11. Report: Florida private sector job growth picks up in December

    Economic Development

    After a mediocre November, Florida rebounded by adding a robust 21,700 private sector jobs in December, according to a report released Wednesday.

    It's the single strongest month since June and bolsters economists' expectations that Florida is positioned for a strong performance in 2015.

    The monthly report from payroll processing company ADP shows Florida still firmly nestled as the third-best job creator in the country behind Texas (up 31,100 jobs) and California (up 29,000 jobs)....

  12. Recognizing same-sex benefits not new for many Tampa Bay companies


    It took years of wrangling in the courts and the court of public opinion before gay marriage became legal last week throughout Florida.

    For many businesses throughout Tampa Bay, however, the battle was fought long ago. In fact, the change in Florida law is not expected to spark much of a human resources makeover.

    That's because many employers over the past 25 years have already widened their benefits packages to include domestic partners, affording them the same coverage as married couples. That's particularly true for large employers with operations across the country and for those in competitive niches trying to keep up with benefits offered by their peers....

  13. White House's top economic adviser trumpets Tampa Bay's job growth


    With his State of the Union speech less than two weeks away, President Barack Obama has been stressing how well the economic recovery has gone so far and rolling out new initiatives to keep it going.

    This includes proposing a program to pay the tuition of many community college students, reducing the costs of Federal Housing Administration loans and renewing the call for a higher minimum wage. ...

    Jason Furman is chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
  14. Citizens Property Insurance sees upside to little-used clearinghouse


    It was July 2013, and Barry Gilway, head of Citizens Property Insurance, was selling his board on a new way to keep homeowners policies out of the state-run insurer of last resort.

    Before placing a policy with Citizens, every Florida agent would have to run their customer's information through an online clearinghouse to see if any private insurer would provide coverage under comparable terms. ...

  15. Gas prices in Tampa Bay drop a dime in a week


    Another week, another huge drop in gas prices throughout Florida.

    The price for average unleaded gas fell a dime to hit $2.194 in Tampa Bay as of Monday, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report. In Florida, prices were down eight cents a gallon on average to reach $2.309.

    It now costs nearly $1.19 a gallon less to fill up in the bay area than it did a year ago. Just over the past month, the price at the pump is down nearly 44 cents....