Friday's Daily Pulse
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
If the economic tea leaves are correct, Friday morning should bring another dose of positive jobs news for the United States. That would bode well for South Florida's ongoing hiring rebound. Nationwide, employers added 325,000 jobs last month, according to calculations by ADP, the country's top payroll company. Though not a surefire predictor of the official government data being released this morning, the ADP report suggests momentum is building behind the nation's economic recovery. Florida releases countywide December jobs data later this month, so the national report will only hint at what's in store for the Sunshine State. [Source: Miami Herald]
» Reasons for hope as nation's jobs update approaches
» Florida's planned job cuts higher than average
» UPDATE: Employers add 200,000 jobs, unemployment rate falls to 8.5 percent, lowest in nearly 3 years
It could soon be Game Over for the spread of Internet cafes that offer casino-style gaming and payouts, while avoiding Florida gambling restrictions. Palm Beach County on Thursday approved a temporary ban on new cafes, also known as sweepstakes cafes. That's expected to grow into a year-long moratorium to allow time for crafting new restrictions for the gaming attractions spreading to shopping centers across South Florida. In Fort Lauderdale, city commissioners on Thursday directed their staff to put together an ordinance restricting the gaming cafes. About 1,000 Internet cafes have spread across the state. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Paul G. Boynton takes over as CEO of Jacksonville-based timber powerhouse Rayonier this month from Lee M. Thomas, who is retiring. Boynton has been with Rayonier since 1999. He spoke with Florida Trend about the company and its plans.
Tampa Bay companies that want a piece of the Republican National Convention can learn more about how to compete for the business on Jan. 19 at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. The 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee will hold a forum from 9 a.m. to noon that day to give locals a chance to find out about its new small business networking program. The convention, scheduled for Aug. 27-30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, is expected to bring an estimated $175 million in direct spending to the area, according to convention organizers. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida educators at high-performing schools will have to wait until at least early February for their state bonuses, according to the Department of Education.
The state had been waiting on high school grades — released Wednesday —before paying the bonuses to all state schools. Schools that earn an A rating or improve by at least one letter grade are eligible for the bonuses.
But Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said the agency still must wait for any appeals to be heard.
[Source: StateImpact Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tourism industry optimistic after sold-out Christmas, New Year's
The BP oil spill never actually came within hundreds of miles of Southwest Florida, but the stigma suffocated tourism. But, with people finally convinced that either way the spill is now just a memory, local resorts and hotels have seen resultant upswings in bookings. "Christmas business was up about 5 percent," said Marco Island Marriott marketing director Bob Pfeffer. "New Year's (week) is sold out thanks to a local promotion we did," he said. "The oil spill is behind us."
› Publix to end its curbside pickup experiment at Citrus Park
Publix announced today that it is ending its curbside pickup program at Citrus Park, the only store where the supermarket chain offered it in the Tampa Bay area. The program was in place for more than a year as a test.
› Buses with perks begin serving Jacksonville market
The options for taking a bus to or from Jacksonville are growing. Seven weeks ago, Megabus started daily buses to and from Orlando and Atlanta. Wednesday, Greyhound Express announced that it was expanding service to Jacksonville with a different level of ride than its standard buses.
› Rick Scott wants Floridians to lure companies via Facebook
Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants Floridians to help him lure companies to the state by giving him suggestions on Facebook. Scott posted the request on his Facebook page on Thursday morning, saying he's looking for success stories to use when talking to companies either planning on expanding or relocating to the state. Within minutes of the posting, Scott's Facebook page was filled with dozens of comments.
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