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Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Robert Trigaux

Robert Trigaux joined the Times as a business writer in 1991. In 2000, he began writing a business column three times a week. He served as business editor from 2005 to 2008, when he resumed his role as business columnist. While at the Times, he has covered a range of beats including banking and finance, technology, telecommunications, energy and economic development. He has received various awards for business writing, including two Green Eyeshades from the Society of Professional Journalists, a commendation for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a first place in business columns from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists.

In the late 1970s, Robert started his business journalism career in New York writing for various business publications covering topics from technology to the furniture industry. At the American Banker, a daily national newspaper, he covered the financial industry in New York and London, then served for eight years as its bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He holds an economics degree from Colgate University.

Phone: (727) 893-8405


Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

  1. Trigaux: We should be talking about how most people are making less money


    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....

    On the Eve of Labor Day and ask demonstrations continue from workers demanding higher wages, a new study shows most U.S. workers are earning less buying power than they were in previous years. In this photo, demonstrators rally for a $15 minimum wage before a meeting of the wage board in New York earlier this summer. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  2. Trigaux: Duke Energy rates will drop in Florida but are doomed to rise again


    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....

    Duke Energy's recent moves seem customer-friendly, but the company's history provokes skepticism. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times (2013)]
  3. Stuck in traffic: Tampa Bay sees no congestion improvement in recent years


    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....

    Tamap Bay commuters waste a lot of time and money while being stuck in traffic, a new study finds. This photo shows recent traffic on Ulmerton Road. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  4. Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers says power companies doing it all wrong


    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."...

    Former Duke Energy chief executive officer Jim Rogers has written a book, Lighting the World, in which he says power companies, including Duke, need to change the way they operate. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Shawn Rocco) 
  5. Tampa, Hillsborough nab higher-profile job deals in quest for economic respect

    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."...

  6. Trigaux: Where did all the construction workers go? Florida builders can't find them


    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....

    Skilled construction workers are in short supply in Florida, where builders are having a tough time filling jobs as demand for development climbs. One builder called it an "epidemic." (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) NYBZ912
  7. Tampa-based Ironman brand now in hands of Chinese company


    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....

    Entrants pay about $650 to enter Ironman events. In 2010, the World Championship 70.3 event was held in Clearwater.
  8. Tampa snags Johnson & Johnson corporate services headquarters with 500 jobs


    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....

  9. Trigaux: Amazon again pushing boundaries on customer delivery


    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....

  10. St. Petersburg unveils plan for jobs recruiting arm similar to Tampa's

    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....

  11. Satisfied with your car? It's less likely, given rising prices, pace of recalls


    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....

    Customer satisfaction among automobile owners has fallen for a third straight year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Cars made by Chrysler, like those shown here, received some of the lowest satisfaction scores.
  12. How does Florida job growth compare to other states?


    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)....

  13. Plunging stock market isn't over, but the U.S. economy has sturdy legs


    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....

    People watch trading boards Monday at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Stocks tumbled across Asia on Monday as investors shaken by the selloff last week on Wall Street unloaded shares in many sectors. U.S. markets followed with massive losses.
  14. Tampa port flexes muscle, injecting waterfront plan into downtown renaissance

    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....

    A rendering shows Port Tampa Bay’s $1.7 billion vision for 45 acres it owns east of Tampa’s downtown Channel District. Shown is an aerial overview of the project, looking west toward downtown. The plan, highlighted by two 75-story residential twin towers, joins an increasingly bold series of downtown Tampa initiatives.
  15. Are Tampa Bay gas prices heading back below $2 a gallon?


    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....

    Gas prices across the bay area are moving closer to $2 per gallon, including at this Wawa on 22nd Avenue N in St. Petersburg. Gas stations were charging $3.19 one year ago.