01/13/17 Personal Finance
Having flown on six different airplanes in the past month or so, I can't say I am overcome with warm and cuddly memories of soaring above the clouds.
Nearly every plane was filled to capacity. Weather woes forced canceled, delayed and re-routed flights. Holiday travel meant lots of little kids, bless them all, which materialized as extra decibels in flight.
And some of the newer planes, while certainly cleaner, felt somehow more flimsy with seat backs made ever thinner — presumably to squeeze in more seats. Engine noise was also louder, it seemed, which might reflect thinner fuselages in the ongoing spirit to make planes as light as possible to save money on fuel....
The venture capital industry staged a sharp national pullback in its investments to business startups in the last quarter of 2016, with last year overall posting a decline from VC investing in 2015.
In Florida, 2016 was a solid year for venture capital with $1.2 billion of investments in startups. That sum, the best since 2001 in Florida, was inflated by a single $793.5 million investment in a South Florida company called Magic Leap. Otherwise, the remaining $406 million or so was spread among all the remaining Florida VC deals in the state for the year....
Florida's long been branded a low-wage state. Now it may soon become known as a low-minimum-wage state, too.
That's apparent when Florida is compared to 28 other states whose minimum wages are higher than the $7.25 an hour minimum wage set by the federal government. That's what the remaining 21 states without minimum wage laws must pay.
Many states that set their own minimum wages are starting to raise them, sometimes aggressively. And that means Florida, which raised its minimum wage for 2017 this week by all of a nickel to $8.10 from $8.05 in 2016, increasingly finds itself on the lower end of the minimum wage scale....
TAMPA — Macy's decision this week to close its University Square Mall store in Tampa and let go of 80 employees at the Fowler Avenue store triggered the first state "mass layoff" notice of 2017 for this metro area. Public notice of larger-scale layoffs are required under the WARN or Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification rules.
If there's any silver lining to spotlighting big job cuts, the pace and volume of such layoffs may be easing in the Tampa Bay market after several years of high and consistent job losses reported under the WARN notices....
After reviewing many forecasts and predictions of business trends likely to arrive or accelerate in 2017, let's boil them down to ten that are most likely to influence the Tampa Bay business scene in the new year.
These trends are culled from input from consulting firms like Forrester Research, publications like Fortune, Forbes, The Economist and the Harvard Business Review, and are sprinkled with examples of local companies and organizations trying to adjust and keep up in such disruptive times....
Can the "wily Scotsman" who now runs Winn-Dixie stores and several other supermarket chains as CEO of privately owned Southeastern Grocers in Jacksonville achieve the comeback success achieved when he ran an Australian food chain?
Ian McLeod's 2016 strategy of cutting prices on an expanding list of staple food items like bread and milk seems eerily similar to his Aussie days. But McLeod, recruited in 2015, acknowledged in a recent interview the stiff grocery competition in the southeastern states — where his Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harvey's and now Fresco y Mas chains operate. The U.S. market is not only more intense but geographically more complex than the more homogenous shopper population served in Australia....
12/30/16 Working Life
Call it a revealing holiday tradition.
United Way Suncoast, the nonprofit community organization that helps pool area charitable fundraising, unveiled its third annual list of the 100 "most generous" workplaces in the four counties it serves: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and De Soto.
No surprise, Publix Super Markets of Lakeland dominated the "most generous" rankings as it has since United Way Suncoast CEO Suzanne McCormick arrived and instituted the 100-company ranking....
From free marketers to millennial ambassadors: Here are the Tampa Bay business people to watch in 201712/27/16Business
"Disruption" ballooned into an overly used word to describe business change. But looking ahead at 2017 and a clearly unorthodox Donald Trump presidency, it's the best single word to characterize what the Tampa Bay economy and its business leaders will likely confront.
That's why this column — profiling people whose impact in the new year on the state and our regional economy may prove especially compelling — starts off with potentially the biggest disrupter of all to the Sunshine State economy....
What better time than this holiday season to celebrate some serious giving this year to some good causes?
In many ways, 2016 was a year philanthropists can be proud of. Especially if recipients are elite universities whose wealthy and wooed alumni can give back in big numbers. The University of Oregon, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, California state universities, MIT, Princeton, the University of Miami — and even major hospitals and museums? They all racked up big philanthropic gifts this year. But back out academia and medical facilities — where philanthropy usually means putting your name on an entire school, campus or major building — and the giving by the rich tends to thin quickly....
St. Petersburg's Jabil seeks to strengthen its brand amid brutal global competition and Trump's job promises12/16/16Business
Simple question: How is global electronics manufacturer Jabil doing these days?
Except it's not an easy answer — despite Jabil reporting quarterly results and its shares soaring by double digits Friday morning to hit their highest price in more than a year.
The St. Petersburg company best known in recent years for making iPhone casings for Apple reported $5.1 billion in revenues for its first fiscal quarter of 2017, down slightly from $5.2 billion the same three months last year. Net income dropped to $88 million from $131.9 million....
12/16/16 Economic Development
Here's a feel-good column to unwrap this holiday season that will reveal the Tampa Bay metro area is rebounding as one of the better performing, larger metro areas in the United States.
That's great news after a decade of rough times in the bay area economy, hitting a low ranking among the nation's top 200 metros at No. 169 in 2009. That's when the recession cut deepest in Tampa Bay and Florida, and the housing market bust was most intense....
Trigaux: As the Tampa Chamber gathers once again, its first next-gen chairman urges a 'be bolder' agenda12/14/16 Economic Development
Today, the youngest-ever chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will be handed the baton of leadership for 2017 before more than 1,050 attendees, the largest audience ever gathered for the chamber's annual meeting, its 131st.
The outgoing chair, Tampa native and insurance executive Guy King III, will welcome incoming chair Mike Griffin. Griffin will speak about the chamber's need to display bolder offense and less defense on key issues like transportation and to embrace longer-term priorities — from being even more effective in retaining and helping area businesses to embracing diversity and inclusiveness....
What's the state of St. Petersburg's economy? Despite some hurdles, it's hard not to celebrate the boom12/06/16 Economic Development
Everyone should take a moment to appreciate the stunning transformation of St. Petersburg from its former nickname as "God's Waiting Room" to a city whose abundance of economic development opportunities under way nearly defies the ability of its leaders to capture them all.
City officials tried, nonetheless, on Tuesday.
The city's second annual "state of the city economy" gathering at USF St. Petersburg attracted nearly 200 to hear top city officials celebrate a town bursting with new construction of residential condos and apartments, new and compelling museums, a pier and renewed waterfront in the making, lower unemployment closing in on 4 percent and even lower poverty this year over last, among a host of thumbs-up economic indicators....
12/02/16 Economic Development
Urban waterfront parks are suddenly gotta-have items for Tampa Bay's top cities.
Economic development experts claim such urban parks are key for downtowns already surging with new residents as well as city cores still hoping to attract people to live and work there. Done right, these experts say waterfront parks can be a source of revenues for budget-pressed cities.
St. Petersburg's long established open waterfront is undergoing a master plan facelift while building its first new pier since the 1970s. Tampa's rediscovered its waterfront along the Hillsborough River with the rise of the Riverwalk pedestrian path. Newly envisioned parks are in the works to grace the Garrison Channel waterfront....
10/04/16 Personal Finance
Only five years ago, Florida was home to 29 billionaires on the Forbes 400. Now 40 billionaires — 10 percent of the new 2016 Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans — claim Florida as their residence.
Sure, the weather here is nice. But it's the lack of state income tax and low inheritance taxes that really lure more of the wealthy here. For comparison, 90 of the Forbes 400 billionaires reside in heavily taxed California....