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)....
How do you capture the pain of stock markets that usually run quite effectively on greed, but lately seem overwhelmed by fear? Consider these colorful attempts by veteran market reporters to share the visceral impact of Black Monday's plunging stock markets.
• "It's been a bit difficult to get the license plate of the truck that's running over the stock market, considering that when you look up right now all you see are axles and undercarriage," said Bloomberg News, whose primary expertise is to interpret stock markets....
08/21/15 Economic Development
With Port Tampa Bay's unveiling of a $1.7 billion redevelopment vision for its 45 acres of waterfront property near the Channel District, a cornerstone piece of greater downtown Tampa's potential renaissance has arrived.
The bold port plan, highlighted by the purposely sky-high 75-story twin towers, seeks to resurrect a stretch of waterfront still pockmarked with vast parking lots and aging industrial storage structures. That's commendable by itself....
With area gas prices down an average 91 cents a gallon in the past year, are we heading for a sub-$2 period of cheaper auto travel?
It's possible. Gas prices in this metro area now average close to $2.28, down a penny from the day before, and well below the $2.51 a month ago and the $3.19 we paid one year ago, says AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge report.
Some area gas stations already sell gas for a lot less. According to the Gas Buddy website, the Speedway on 30th Avenue North in St. Petersburg is selling gas at $2.12, while the Rally store on 49th Street N in Clearwater is a penny cheaper at $2.11. A Brandon Shell on Lumsden Road is at $2.14....
Florida racked up yet another record quarter in tourism growth, a remarkable accomplishment that still must beg the inevitable question: How long can it last?
At some point, the record will falter and the 25.8 million tourists who came to this state in the second quarter — and the 54.1 million who came in the first half of this year — will dip slightly. Egos will be hurt. Hand-wringing may ensue. Fingers will point. All true, even though tourism numbers will still be high....
On a day when the Dow plummeted 358 points, Tech Data Corp. watched its shares soar as the Clearwater technology distributor and Tampa Bay's largest public company by revenues reported strong earnings. Shares rose more than 13 percent Thursday to over $63, erasing in one day almost exactly the stock's decline since the start of 2015.
In an interview, CEO Bob Dutkowsky said Tech Data revenues grew 8 percent across all of its markets in an IT industry that is expanding at average 4 percent pace. That means, he said, that Tech Data is taking market share away from other companies. ...
Eight Florida companies, including two Tampa Bay area insurers, made Fortune magazine's annual list of the 100 fastest-growing companies for 2015.
Tampa's HCI Group and St. Petersburg's United Insurance Holdings are ranked No. 31 and No. 45, respectively.
"Who knew how crucial Florida weather is? Another property and casualty insurer enjoys placid times, bolstered by revenues from windstorm policies," said Fortune of HCI's strong performance on the annual list. Insurance companies tend to prosper when there are few storms to prompt claims by policyholders. HCI ranked No. 2 last year....
Our state's chief job recruiters want a bonus.
On Thursday, the board of state-backed Enterprise Florida, the chief job-recruiting arm of the Sunshine State, will be asked to approve up to $765,000 in combined bonuses divided up among its first-year president and his staff. The amount of the bonus package is the same as Enterprise Florida successfully sought last year for its staff.
Enterprise Florida CEO Bill Johnson, the former director of PortMiami, signed a $265,000-a-year contract in February to run the economic development agency, which receives state and private funding....