You all have strong feelings about fiddling with our clocks twice a year, evidenced by the passionate responses to last week’s column about Florida Sen. Marco Rubio garnering more support for permanent Daylight Saving Time.
My email inbox is far from a scientific study, but nearly everyone who wrote in was fed up with springing forward and falling back. They wanted to pick a time and stick with it. One reader summed it up this way: “We cannot change the year, the month or the days, so why do we mess with time?”
The fault lines developed over what to choose — Standard Time, with more light in the morning, or Daylight Saving Time, which the work crowd appeared to favor for the extra light in the late afternoon. There wasn’t a lot of grey area in the responses, showcased by how many were WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITALS.
Several readers, noting that the country used Daylight Saving Time during major wars to help farmers and save on coal, wondered why it had stuck around in times of relative peace. Others in favor of permanent Standard Time pointed out that the country tried permanent Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s with little success. And, of course, many of the Standard Time advocates evoked the image of kids standing in the dark waiting for morning school buses.
Permanent Daylight Saving Time "was tried before and it didn’t work,” wrote Tod Markin, of St. Petersburg. “By all means let’s do away with changing the clocks twice a year, but stay on Standard Time.”
Advocates of year-round Daylight Saving Time were just as plentiful but not as forceful, perhaps due to the lack of sunlight at the end of the workday that so many of them said made them sleepy and depressed.
A few wanted to split the difference. In March, move the clocks permanently ahead by 30 minutes, they said.
Would that make everyone happy or unhappy?
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On a more serious note, a few numbers caught my eye in Florida TaxWatch’s recent look at manufacturing in the state.
Pinellas with about 33,000 and Hillsborough with about 27,000 remain in the top four counties for most manufacturing jobs behind Miami-Dade (41,000) and Orange (34,000).
Hillsborough added almost 3,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last three years, Pinellas added 1,500. Both were good enough to rank in the top six counties for manufacturing job growth.
Many of the state’s smaller counties rely heavily on the sector for employment. Manufacturing employs nearly 3 out of every 10 private-sector workers in Liberty and Taylor counties.
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Florida still dominates U.S. cruise ship traffic, according to a recent study from the Cruise Lines International Association. No other state comes close to the number of passengers that get on ships at Florida’s five terminals.
In fact, three of those terminals — Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades — each saw more traffic last year than all the terminals in California, which ranked second among the states. Port Tampa Bay had more passengers (598,000) than New York, which ranked third.
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Here’s the passenger breakdown for 2018:
Florida — 7.51 million
California — 1.12 million
New York — 557,000
Other U.S. ports — 3.5 million