Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
U.S. unemployment flat at 7.8%, 155,000 jobs added
U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during tense fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington. The solid job growth wasn't enough to push down the unemployment rate, which stayed at 7.8% last month, according to the Labor Department's report Friday. November's rate was revised higher from an initially reported 7.7%. More from the AP and Bloomberg.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Jonathan Hage, this year's Floridian of the Year, has parlayed his experience as an education policy wonk into one of the fastest-growing for-profit charter school management companies in the nation, Charter Schools USA.
Jacksonville company hit with $15.3 million penalty from Justice Department
A Jacksonville-based company has agreed to pay $15.3 million to the federal government to settle allegations it used unlicensed sleep technicians for its sleep diagnostic services. The U.S. Department of Justice accused American Sleep Medicine LLC of inappropriately billing government health care programs for studies it conducted on sleeping disorders. [Source: Florida Times-Union]
Office Depot workers take off pounds for money
Competing with peers and risking a little money can be powerful motivators to lose weight, several Office Depot employees say. The office supply retailer's Boca Raton headquarters participated in HealthyWage's weight-loss challenge, a "Biggest Loser"-type competition with other companies that offered a top prize of $10,000 for the winning team. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
» FRIDAY PREVIEW: Coming next week to FloridaTrend.com:
- The Freshman Class: The confluence of term limits and redistricting contributed to significant turnover in the Florida Legislature, which welcomed 59 new lawmakers — including members who shifted chambers.
- Florida Icon: Brian Johnson: The lead singer of AC/DC tells says "Florida feels like home. When I go back to England, I feel like I’m visiting."
- Southern Swing: Up north from central Florida to the Georgia-Alabama borders, Southern cooking is hotter than ever.
- Profile: Sloan's: The over-the-top ice cream shop is known for plush toys along the pink walls and decadent desserts.
» You'll find all these stories first on the Daily and Afternoon Pulse e-mails.
We start 2013 by featuring our Floridian of the Year. Please understand that this is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather recognition of a significant achievement that occurred in Florida during the past year.
This new year has special meaning for Florida. Exactly 500 years ago, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the east coast, documented the arrival and gave a name to the area ... La Florida.
In case you missed it: