11/25/15 Economic Development
As much as Tampa Bay desperately wants to recruit a major corporate headquarters, it is now safe to say corporate giant GE will not relocate to Tampa Bay.
Not that it was ever likely. GE's market value is more than 100 times that of Tech Data Corp., the largest Fortune 500 company based here. But it is important to praise Tampa Bay and Florida leaders for having the chops to knock on GE's front door in Connecticut and tell the country's eighth-largest public corporation that this metro area has more to offer big companies than they might think....
While Florida's jobless rate in October again fell, this time to a 7-year low of 5.1 percent, it remains a shade higher than the nation's 5.0 percent rate. And it is still higher than the unemployment rates in 26 other states, including eight states with rates under 4 percent, and an additional two with rates under 3 percent.
As state economic recoveries go, Florida's is rebounding well. Just not as robust as some states are doing these days....
A lot of industry watchers talk a good game but Consumer Reports just put its money where its mouth is and listed which companies in 2015 were Naughty or Nice. A dozen corporations earned a naughty designation while 14 were identified as nice. The full list appears below (with more details at consumerreports.org) but we'll first focus on just a few whose actions have inflicted particular pain, or gain, on the Tampa Bay and Florida markets....
11/20/15 Economic Development
Tampa Bay's economic progress can be measured by its companies, its job growth and GDP, its population, its corporate headquarters, its entrepreneurs, its graduation rates, its universities and its patents. Even its swagger.
But progress can also be captured in its latest signature buildings. The ones with substance. The ones that represent more for this area than the sum of their steel and concrete....
Trigaux: Emboldened by record visitors and big data insights, Pinellas tourism agency tests a national pitch11/20/15Tourism
It should come as no surprise that Pinellas County's tourism agency known as Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is taking the leap to its first national advertising campaign.
The agency has already pushed the clever publicity envelope, most recently with the "Winter Blows" guerilla marketing campaign that used snowmen strategically placed on the frozen avenues of New York and Chicago to urge chilled locals to escape to warmer climates. Like this one....
Early fall predictions of the holiday shopping season were less than stellar, with respected firms like Morgan Stanley warning that the Grinch "could steal Christmas" this year.
Additional negative vibes grew as we watched the stock prices of the top traditional department stores, from Macy's and Dillard's to Nordstrom, fall off a cliff. Macy's shares that traded over $70 as recently as July now trade under $40. Dillard's traded over $140 in April but then toppled to about $75. Even Nordstrom, long viewed as a brand more insulated from economic swings, finds its stock trading in the mid $50s after topping $80 in March....
Did Floridians learn nothing from Bernie Madoff, the modern master of Ponzi schemes? Did we already forget Orlando boy band producer Lou Pearlman, credited with running one of the longest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history? Did we nap while Sarasota Ponzi schemer Arthur Nadel bilked locals of $162 million?
It seems so, judging from the torrent of financial ripoffs that continue to snare unwary investors across this state. Too many scams bear the distinct signs of fraud first masterminded by Charles Ponzi back in the 1920s....
Bank of America may be first in market share in Florida banking, but it ranks last among big banks in customer satisfaction, a case of the Too Big doing Too Little for Too Long.
In survey results released Tuesday, Bank of America registered the lowest score among the largest U.S. banks ranked on the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The bank, which holds more than $17 of every $100 of deposits in the Sunshine State, earned a 68 on the ACSI 100-point scale, the equivalent of a D+ based on 9,202 third-quarter consumer surveys. ...
With six weeks left in 2015, clear winners and losers are emerging among prominent publicly traded companies in the Tampa Bay area as stock markets opened Monday fresh from sharp declines last week.
Concerns compounded by the attacks in Paris that occurred after U.S. markets closed Friday did not stop the markets from rallying on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 238 points....
Think of small Florida banks as if they were precious gems.
There are not a lot of them around. No new ones are being created, at least for now. And a lot of folks want to buy one, two or even a lot more.
Get 'em while they're hot. But not too hot. The last bank to be started from scratch around here was born before the last recession. By Florida standards, that's a long time without a new startup bank. The state's weakest banks have largely been culled from the state herd via failures and forced mergers during the recession....
Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge, eager to close on the cable TV deals to buy both Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable, told investors this week he expects the acquisitions to be wrapped up soon.
"Everyone has had their say," Rutledge said in remarks to a major Charter investor gathering. "The FCC's (Federal Communication Commission) shot clock has stayed ticking as a result of our responsiveness so far." A few local authorities remain to sign off on the combined $65 billion-plus deals and the financing is in place, he said. "We're sitting here, ready to close."...
As if rising income inequality in this country isn't already a front burner debate, now we learn that Tampa again ranks in the top ten "most unequal" larger cities in America.
Among cities with 250,000 populations or more, Tampa ranks No. 8 nationwide for being unequal. What does that mean? A Bloomberg analysis ranked the top ten cities as unequal based on how skewed the incomes in those metro areas are between the rich and the poor. These cities tend to have big pockets of wealth, larger areas of poverty and a relatively thin middle class....
A largely new set of top managers running SeaWorld Entertainment just pitched a new vision of a theme park company that will become the best pal and advocate of endangered wild animals on the planet. But here's the sticky question: Will vacationers intent on fun and diversion pay big money to visit a theme park whose mission sounds a lot like going to a zoo?
How much sugar must be added to the medicine of being told to become a better steward of Mother Nature?...
The parent of St. Petersburg's C1 Bank was purchased Monday in a $402.5 million deal by Bank of the Ozarks, an Arkansas bank that continues a recent binge of acquisitions in Florida and other southeastern states.
The deal amounts to about $25 per share of C1 Financial, ending weeks of speculation that the local banking company would soon be bought.
C1 Bank had grown to $1.7 billion in assets, becoming the 18th-largest bank based in Florida last year. It operates 32 branches on the west coast of Florida and in Miami-Dade and Orange counties. Most of the offices are in Florida's top six metropolitan markets....
Stung by weak attendance, activists critical of its captive killer whale shows and a flaccid stock price, the Orlando parent company of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and six other theme parks on Monday announced sweeping plans for a turnaround.
Unveiled by new SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby and a refreshed senior management team, the plan's top priorities range from repositioning the Orlando SeaWorld park as a less-expensive alternative to the fast-rising admission costs of Disney and Universal to rebranding the SeaWorld message as a more aggressive friend to wild animals in peril....