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Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Economic uncertainty weighs on small businesses

Economic uncertainty and access to capital continue to rank as major obstacles preventing small business growth, according to the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey. While a steady 31 percent of respondents plan to hire employees during the next six months, those hiring plans will stop if Congress does not extend 2001 to 2003 tax cuts and prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff. Read more from the South Florida Business Journal and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Lower unemployment rate means fewer state benefits for jobless workers next year

The eligible weeks of unemployment insurance benefits will shrink to 19 from 23 next year. September’s unemployment rate of 8.7 percent released Friday sealed the deal. And worker advocates say the state has put other changes to the system in place that stymie eligible unemployed people from getting benefits. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

65 percent of nation’s housing markets are worse off than four years ago

In a report released Tuesday, RealtyTrac said 65 percent of local housing markets nationwide are “worse off than four years ago,’’ according to an analysis of five key metrics. The Irvine, Calif.-based data firm, in a report dubbed “Election 2012 Housing Health Check,” looked at average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts, and what percentage of sales were distressed in more than 900 counties. [Source: Miami Herald]

Column: Why is state creating a Florida business brand – in Nashville?

This deal is a head scratcher. A Florida agency that exists to find more jobs for this state is instead paying a business elsewhere to market and research Florida – instead of giving the job to folks who live and work here, presumably "know" Florida well and certainly could use the work. Read Robert Trigaux's full column at the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Seeing green: First Green Bank is thriving

Community banks in central Florida remain in recovery mode as the real estate market and economy strengthen slowly. Bank newcomers with little or no bad debt are thriving, however. Lake County-based First Green Bank, launched a little over three years ago when the credit crunch was peaking, is profitable and expanding. Full story...


› Legoland Florida has benefited other businesses
Hot air balloons, steak-eating challenges and bigger sales. Fifty-three weeks into the Legoland Florida era, many Winter Haven businesses say they are seeing 15 percent to 20 percent gains in their sales this year.

› Critics condemn closing of Citizens' internal watchdog
Critics of state-run Citizens Property Insurance came down hard against the organization Monday for axing its internal watchdog office at the same time the company was under investigation for lavish corporate spending.

› Orlando's gay bar owners paved the way for acceptance
In the '70s, the first gay bars provided more than booze, music and companionship. They served as community centers, social sanctuaries, civic clubs and incubators for the gay groups and institutions that would emerge and evolve over time.

› Plan for St. Petersburg Pier has a new pitchman
Let the yelling begin! Anthony Sullivan, former business partner of the late Billy Mays, the screaming pitchman for the likes of Kaboom! and OxiClean, has thrown himself into what until now has been an uneven quarrel about St. Petersburg's Pier.

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› Despite lack of title sponsor, PGA Tour will remain at Innisbrook in 2013
Despite the lack of a title sponsor, the PGA Tour will remain at Innisbrook in 2013. The PGA is expected to release its 2013 schedule in the next few days, and the newly named Tampa Bay Championship will be played March 11-17, the same spot it has occupied since becoming part of the Florida Swing in 2007.

› Business groups propose alternative to 'wage theft' ordinance in Broward
As the hot-button issue of "wage theft" comes before the Broward County Commission again on Tuesday, local business groups are offering an alternative. The $175,000 in proposed county funding to battle wage theft should be given to Legal Aid to represent unpaid workers, the Fort Lauderdale Chamber and other business groups said on Monday.

› Naples airport terminal missing more than just commercial airlines
Commercial airline service isn't all that's missing at Naples Municipal Airport. The commercial terminal at the airport has had vacant spots for business for five years. And it could remain that way until the Naples airport lures more commercial carriers.

› Unicorp sells retail centers for $263 million
Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. has sold six shopping centers, including five in Central Florida and one in Virginia, to San Diego-based Excel Realty Trust for $263 million. Unicorp has been working with Excel for about 10 months on a deal for the centers, which were 96 percent leased.