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Friday's Afternoon Update

Florida unemployment tumbles to 7.5 percent

Florida's job recovery continued in March, with the state's unemployment rate tumbling to a four-and-a-half year low of 7.5 percent, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported Friday morning. That's down from a revised rate of 7.7 percent in February. More at the Tampa Bay Times and the Brevard Times.

Florida's grasshopper sparrow


In a desperate bid to save a nearly extinct species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that it is launching a captive breeding program for Florida's grasshopper sparrow.

If they do nothing, experts predict the sparrow will go extinct in three to five years, just like its cousin, the dusky seaside sparrow. The dusky disappeared from the Earth in 1987 when the last survivor died at Disney World.

If the Florida grasshopper sparrow vanishes, it would be the first bird species to go extinct in the United States since then

» Full story from the Tampa Bay Times

Debt: We avoid speaking about it

Debt is more than a four-letter word. It's also a taboo conversation topic. We'd rather talk about our sex life than our credit card debt. A scientific survey commissioned by CreditCards.com found that nearly 85 percent of respondents were somewhat or very unlikely to discuss the amount of credit card debt they carry. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida House approves natural gas motor fuel bill

Sponsored by State Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, The Natural Gas Motor Fuel bill (HB 579), would eliminate existing decal and license programs for natural gas fuel, and instead require the same licensing and taxes that now apply to diesel vendors. [Source: Jacksonville Business Journal]

» On FloridaTrend.com: Features of interest, in case you missed them:

Weekend Event
Stunt Helicopter

stunt copterIt has been said of Chuck Aaron that "he makes flipping a helicopter look as easy as flipping a pancake." That's a true statement. You just move your hand a little. But it takes way more guts to flip a helicopter. Only two machines in this hemisphere are capable, and Aaron, 64, is the only guy who can fly them — one of three people in the world, he says. He is performing in the Fort Lauderdale Air Show this weekend.

» Full story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel