If becoming a 21st century metro area means having lots of better paying technology-related job opportunities, then Tampa Bay should give itself a pat on the back — and keeping pushing for more.
A creative analysis by Bloomberg News recently ranked the nation's 100 top metro areas for STEM jobs — meaning jobs that required education in science, technology, engineering or math. In the process, the analysis revealed a number of lesser known cities that are STEM magnets, defined as places having higher percentages of the kind of tech-related employment that not only offers better pay but will likely assure these metro areas as more competitive players in the future....
A North Carolina utility watchdog group and well-known critic of Duke Energy joined six other environmental, labor and religious organizations Wednesday to petition North Carolina's attorney general to force Duke to amend its corporate charter due to "a persistent pattern of criminal activity" of harming the environment.
The watchdog group, N.C. WARN, and its partners want Duke to phase out its coal-fired power plants in five years, stop blocking alternative energy competition, and be prohibited from making political contributions or attempting to influence the political process. While it is illegal for corporations to contribute to political campaigns, they can contribute through political action committees, as Duke Energy does. It is also legal for companies to advocate on behalf of their interests....
Shunning its Connecticut home for a tax-friendlier state, Fortune 100 giant GE recently launched a search for a new site for its headquarters. That decision sparked invitations and promises from major metro areas in 12 states salivating at a rare opportunity to snag the bragging rights of landing America's eighth-largest public company.
Is this just some ploy by GE, with 5,700 employees in Connecticut, to wrest more tax concessions from the state? Maybe. But the competition for its headquarters is thick, with some major U.S. cities claiming to be on GE's short list. Other prominent spots already have been rejected....
The Tampa Bay market holds the dubious distinction of being one of the more expensive places in the country for consumers to get access to their own money.
Tampa Bay banking customers pay an average of $4.68 in fees to withdraw cash from an ATM outside their bank's network, ranking the area as the 10th-highest-priced market in a national survey.
That's higher than the nation's average fee for using an out-of-network ATM, which rose 4 percent over the past year to a record $4.52 per transaction, according to Bankrate.com's 18th annual checking survey. The fee has risen 21 percent over the past five years. The charge is a combination of two fees — an "in network" fee plus "out of network" fee — which makes the transaction so expensive....
Facing record theme park attendance, Disney is taking the next step in crowd control with plans to charge higher admission when times are busy and less when visitors are fewer. The idea is known as demand pricing — some already are calling it "Uber-style" pricing — that Disney hopes will influence tourist behavior, spreading out theme park visits to accommodate more people but with fewer peaks and valleys....
Tech Data Corp. or Raymond James Financial?
That's today's choice when trying to answer the question: What is the "biggest" publicly traded corporation headquartered in the Tampa Bay metro area?
Tech Data, the Clearwater technology distributor, over the years has ruled the No. 1 spot whenever the Tampa Bay Times ranks the 10 largest bay area public companies. Tech Data produces annual revenues of nearly $28 billion. That's nearly as much as Jabil and WellCare Health Plans — ranked No. 2 and 3 in revenues — generate together....
09/25/15 Economic Development
Tampa Bay's gross domestic product continued to expand steadily in the past several years. The GDP may have taken a licking — to paraphrase the old Timex watch ads — but it has kept on ticking.
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area in 2014 recorded a $118 billion GDP, a measure of economic output, up 2.7 percent from the GDP of 2013. That performance landed Tampa Bay's GDP growth at No. 11 in Florida — smack dab in the middle of 22 state metro areas. The figures were included in a U.S. Department of Commerce survey of GDP growth in 381 larger metro areas....
Only now are we starting to realize the profound economic impact of losing a nuclear power plant before its time.
In an assessment of the gross domestic product growth in each of nation's largest 382 metropolitan areas, the one metro whose GDP contracted the most in 2014 was Florida's Homosassa Springs — an area that includes Citrus County and the town of Crystal River, home of the now-defunct Crystal River nuclear power plant owned by Duke Energy....
The good news is Working Mother magazine this week published its 30th year of the 100 best companies for women seeking the best work-life balance and, once again, Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center made the list.
Moffitt has made the list an impressive seven times. The health care firm says it was included this year for its corporate culture that offers working mothers education assistance, flexible work schedules, and backup child and elder care. Parental leave offers new moms an additional four weeks of paid leave, as well as one week of paid leave for new dads and job protection for mothers beyond the 12 weeks provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act, paying 100 percent of their salary, according to Moffitt....
09/22/15 Real Estate
Do you know someone who spends half their income on rent? You will know more of them soon.
A confluence of events is happening that may force millions more Americans to spend more than half of what they earn just to keep a rental roof over their heads. The latest red flag appears in a new report from Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable-housing nonprofit group, and Harvard's Joint Center on Housing Studies. The study found that the number of U.S. households that spend at least half their income on rent could increase 25 percent to 14.8 million over the next decade. More than 1 million households headed by Hispanics and more than another million headed by the elderly could pass into those ranks....
In decades of covering the highs and lows of the U.S. economy, I've never encountered a governor quite like Florida's Rick Scott. His singular obsession with creating more jobs — jobs of any kind as long as there are more of them today than yesterday — is commendable for its disciplined, if tunnel-visioned, focus. Yet, it's disappointing for ignoring broader economic pressures in a state suffering stagnant wages, rising costs and, yes, rising poverty....
09/18/15 Economic Development
Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos came to Florida this past week not to expand his giant online shopping empire's footprint here but to plant his Blue Origin space business — his first love — on Florida's Space Coast.
Long ago, there were hints this might happen. In his 1982 high-school valedictory speech at Palmetto High School in Miami, the National Merit scholar spoke about colonizing space to secure humanity's future....
In an unruly 3-hour debate of 11 GOP presidential candidates that one CNN moderator aptly described as "herding cats," two mainstream participants tried to demonstrate that their extensive business backgrounds gave them the experience – without the perceived taint of being career politicians – to move the United States forward if they are elected president.
So far, it may be working....
For some lucky startup founder, it might be the best 15-minute ride ever.
Uber, the disruptive car service that is trying to bull the old-school taxi business to the side across the globe, is partnering with as many as 10 Tampa Bay area investment firms to offer a mobile Shark Tank opportunity of sorts to area entrepreneurs.
For Tampa Bay, getting picked by Uber for this quirky ride-and-pitch event is a bit of a coup. Only a few cities across the country have participated in such an event so far — a sign that the startup community here is substantial enough to catch Uber's attention....
Fresh on the heels of St. Petersburg starting its own business recruiting arm, city officials Tuesday evening provided a sneak peek of a new St. Pete marketing campaign that they say will appear locally and reach nationwide via TV, radio, billboard and social media.
A formal announcement will be made soon, coming just weeks after the city told the Tampa Bay Times that it is creating its own economic development corporation, or EDC. Its mission: to actively recruit new jobs and businesses to a city that, with a rising reputation it hopes to polish with the new branding campaign, wants to take a stronger hand in strengthening and shaping its corporate base....