Tampa Bay's desire to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial spirit continues to gain ground.
In St. Petersburg, a designated Innovation District that incorporates USF St. Pete, the university's dynamic marine science resources, the combined medical muscle of Johns Hopkins' All Children's Hospital and Bayfront Health and a host of startup activities is starting to take organized shape. Another Innovation District to reinvigorate the area around USF Tampa is backed by the university, Moffitt Cancer Center, Busch Gardens and area hospitals, among others. Downtown Tampa's proposed growth via mega-projects proposed by Jeff Vinik, Port Tampa Bay and others is potentially dazzling....
09/04/15 Real Estate
The giant investment firm Blackstone Group stormed into Tampa Bay and dozens of other markets during the housing collapse several years ago to buy up what is now close to 50,000 cheap homes in order to rent them and, once real estate prices rebounded, sell them at substantial profits.
The firm even created a company called Invitation Homes to serve as an umbrella corporation to operate as a national landlord for house-rental business....
Want a health care job? The Tampa Bay area is an unusually good place to be looking these days. A national job-tracking firm found that this market ranked fifth among major metro areas for the number of health care job openings in August.
Tampa Bay's astonishing 33,398 openings were behind only Atlanta (34,492), Boston (38,101), Los Angeles (42,961) and No. 1 New York (43,879) last month, and ahead of such larger markets as Chicago and Houston. Nationally, 673,298 health care jobs were open in August, up a dramatic 14 percent from August 2014....
At this rate, perhaps Labor Day should be renamed Cheaper Labor Day.
That's because taking into account cost-of-living increases since the recession ended in 2009, wages have declined for most U.S. workers. Not just the low-paying jobs we hear about so often. Most jobs are affected, including professional occupations requiring advanced degrees or special skills.
Wage declines since 2009 include the retail salesperson paid a median of $10.28 an hour in 2014, but whose real wage — as in, "What can I actually buy with this paycheck?" — dropped 5 percent. Delivery drivers making $14.20 an hour? Down 6.2 percent. Teachers earning $20.37 an hour? A 9.3 percent decline....
First and foremost, kudos to Duke Energy Florida for at long last pushing down its residential electricity rates for Florida ratepayers, even if it is the declining price of natural gas (which is today's most economical choice to generate electricity) that is the primary cause.
Savor the moment. Duke's lower rates may not last. More on that in a moment.
If Duke gets final approval of all its proposed rate trims, then Duke customers in Florida will be paying $4.18 per month less for using 1,000 kilowatt hours in 2016. That's a 3 percent drop in price, not exactly enough to excite a Labor Day sale shopper. But it sure beats the alternative....
Traffic congestion in the Tampa Bay area cost commuters who travel at peak hours an average of $907 in lost time and wasted gas in 2014, roughly in line with the cost and stress of commuting in Tampa Bay in the past several years. That amounts to 41 hours stuck in traffic while burning 18 gallons of gas for an auto driver and more for those driving trucks.
So say the findings of the 2015 "Urban Mobility Scorecard" — the annual analysis of traffic congestion in America conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The local findings indicate Tampa Bay commuters are only holding their own, neither gaining nor losing much time or money in the still stressful exercise of traveling to and from work at peak hours....
The former CEO of Duke Energy — the country's biggest power company and an aggressive monopoly in Florida keen on preserving its control of the electricity market — now says that the way Duke and all big U.S. power companies operate is out of date.
"It's very clear to me that the system of electric power we have in North America and Europe, which is now being instituted in much of China and India and elsewhere, is not sustainable for the future of the planet. So we're going to have to figure out something else, and soon."...
08/28/15 Economic Development
The best word to describe it? Crescendo: an increase in loudness or intensity.
Year after year, Tampa and Hillsborough County have built a rising intensity of corporate job recruitment successes. The crescendo was marked most recently by the latest deal with Fortune 100 company Johnson & Johnson. The drug and consumer products giant chose to come here to open its national back-office operation for finance, HR, IT and corporate procurement functions in one "shared service center."...
With construction cranes and new home building becoming ever more familiar sights in Florida, it's getting tougher to find skilled workers to keep up with rising demand.
Small wonder. Florida added 4,800 construction jobs in July — more than any other state.
In the past 12 months, Florida's gain of 26,500 construction jobs was second only to larger California, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data by the Associated General Contractors of America. The findings show an uneven national rebound in construction. While the Florida economy is a clear beneficiary, other states saw sharp declines in construction jobs, led by New York's 4,500 job loss in July and Ohio's 13,800 decline in the past year....
One of the world's best known sports brands and symbols of endurance competition, Tampa-based Ironman, now belongs to a Chinese firm. Dalian Wanda Group of China bought Ironman's parent company, World Triathlon Corp., this week from Providence Equity Corp. for about $900 million in equity and debt.
The buyer, owned by China's richest billionaire, says Ironman will remain headquartered in Tampa's Rocky Point area....
TAMPA — Johnson & Johnson, the giant pharmaceutical company best known for its Tylenol and Band-Aid brands, on Thursday said it has picked Tampa as its headquarters to house key corporate services including finance, human resources and information technology.
As part of the deal, the company will create 500 jobs averaging at least $75,000 over the next three years and make a capital investment of $23.5 million into the Tampa region. In exchange, Johnson & Johnson becomes eligible for state and local incentives of up to $6.37 million the company would receive — once it delivers on the promised jobs and wages....
You can almost anticipate the Amazon news release coming in, say, 2020.
In a new service called Prime Ahead, Amazon announced today it will offer delivery of a wide range of goods to its Amazon Prime members in the Tampa Bay area at least one hour before its customers even realize they want what arrives at their doorsteps. Amazon said its new service will save customers the effort of thinking of something new to buy....
08/25/15 Economic Development
A sea change is under way in how St. Petersburg intends to recruit companies to move jobs here.
Once passive, the city was content to lend a hand only if a business came knocking. But emboldened by its downtown renaissance, St. Pete now plans to aggressively pursue companies and jobs in specific industries like marine science and health care.
To accomplish that, the city is creating its own economic development corporation, or EDC, much like the successful Tampa Hillsborough EDC that has become the powerful corporate jobs recruiter on the eastern side of Tampa Bay....
It's a troubling combo: More-expensive cars that are more likely to be recalled for problems.
The record pace of auto recalls and rising price tags drove car buyer satisfaction down for a third straight year, according to new data released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI. Customer satisfaction with automobiles fell 3.7 percent to a score of 79 on an ACSI scale of 0 to 100. The most beloved auto in the United States is a Lexus, and the least satisfying is a Fiat....
While Florida's unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent last month, 28 other states and the nation as a whole boasted lower jobless rates.
It can be tough to assess how the Sunshine State is doing without knowing how other states are performing. So let's take a look.
Seasonally adjusted, Florida's employment hit 8.1 million in July, an increase of 30,500 jobs or up 0.4 percent over June. Only California (+80,700) and Texas (+31,400) reported greater increases in jobs that month. Nor did all states report gains. New Jersey lost 13,600 jobs, followed by Louisiana (-4,500) and Kansas (-4,300)....