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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida household income down

The income of the typical Florida family dropped 2.9 percent last year, one of the sharpest reminders that the deflated state economy remains marked by high unemployment, lower-wage jobs and financially challenged to spend its way out of its problems. Florida is one of 18 states to see its median household income -- the amount at which half the state households make more and half make less -- decline in 2011 from the previous year. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times and the Wall Street Journal.

» Median household income drops even more in South Florida
» Great Recession's plunge in incomes persists in Central Florida
» Incomes dropped 4 percent in Collier in past year, at 5-year low
» Chart: Median income in the U.S. and Florida

Seafood industry hauling in record numbers

U.S. commercial fishermen landed record amounts of fish last year, including in the Gulf of Mexico, where fisheries appear to have partially rebounded from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a government assessment issued this week. The annual report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that U.S. seafood landings in 2011 were at a 17-year high, with a value of $5.3 billion. [Source: McClatchy]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Beer gardens at the head of the class

Florida’s fascination with craft-brewed beer, ale, porter, weissbier and more has grown so much that the state now boasts more than 70 breweries from the Panhandle to the Keys, with the biggest clusters around Jacksonville and Tampa.

Intuition Ale
Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville specializes in small-batch handcrafted ales.

That’s perhaps 30 more than last year, making Florida more beer-savvy than most states and starting to catch us up with the Rockies and the West Coast. Full story...

Scott seeks help for airline, wind-energy workers losing their jobs

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has made job creation his top priority, said Wednesday layoffs of airline and wind-turbine workers in Florida this week are disappointing. Scott said he has asked state and local economic-development and employment agencies to help the workers find new jobs. [Source: AP]

Amendment opposing 'Obamacare' will likely have little effect

It might sound like an initiative straight from the Department of Government Redundancy: a constitutional change that Florida lawmakers labored for two years to place on this fall's statewide ballot even though it will have little real-world impact. Full story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and see our analysis of Amendment 1 and a complete roundup of this year's Amendments.


› Rubio wants to reveal college-grad earnings
Students, parents and states should have a better handle on what a college degree brings in terms of earnings after graduation. So says Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has teamed up with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon to promote a bill designed to provide more information on what college students can expect after graduation.

› UF partners with Coursera to offer free online classes
The University of Florida has joined a growing group of universities offering free online courses to the masses.

› USF wins grant to support high-tech companies
The University of South Florida's research funding has topped the $400 million mark, with the latest million-dollar innovation grant arriving Wednesday.

› Miami creating urban film institute
Hoping to capitalize on Miami's burgeoning film industry and bring new jobs to the area, Miami's Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency plans to create a film institute.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› More than two-thirds in U.S. live paycheck to paycheck
More than two-thirds of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the American Payroll Association.

› Miami-Dade asks employee unions to approve redesigned health-insurance plan
For county employees, the good news is that a healthcare concession imposed this year will likely go away. The bad news is that health-insurance costs are rising, which will mean higher co-pays or higher dependent premiums.

› Orlando International Airport likes free train, but asks for more info
The board of Orlando International Airport declined Wednesday to vote even informally in favor of a privately financed high-tech train that could be worth $315 million. Instead, the board asked Tony Morris, the owner of American Maglev, first to provide it with an in-depth ridership study and how the proposed train could affect the sales of rental-car companies that pay millions for space at the airport.

› USF Health announces new alliance with Lakeland Regional
The University of South Florida is creating a new health system with Lakeland Regional Medical Center as its first hospital member, university President Judy Genshaft announced Wednesday.