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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Auto sales see record post-recession jumps

U.S. buyers snapped up new cars and trucks in June at a pace not seen since before the recession. And with auto sales helping stoke the U.S. economic recovery, Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation reported a 10 percent rise in its retail sales of new vehicles in June compared to a year ago. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the AP.

Mortgage rates drop after last week's big jump

What a difference a week makes: The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell this week to 4.29 percent after the highest rate jump in more than 26 years the week before, Freddie Mac announced Wednesday. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida consortium reaches deal on use of oil spill payments

International Profile

Venezuela: No changes in fiscal policy

Those who hoped for an end to the late President Hugo Chavez’s socialist rule had their hopes dashed in April when his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, won the presidential election. For companies doing business in that nation, little has changed, says Joseph Ganitsky, director of the University of Miami Center for International Business Education and Research and a faculty member at the UM School of Business.

» Full story

Gov. Rick Scott and the Gulf Consortium – a group comprising 23 Gulf Coast counties – have reached a deal for using recovery funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreement lays the groundwork to ensure that funding sources related to the RESTORE Act are maximized when developing a long-term restoration plan for Florida. More at the Insurance Journal.

Florida small biz employment flat in June

Small business employment in Florida remained relatively flat in June, rising just 0.01 percent, according to Intuit Payroll’s June Small Business Index released July 2. Nationwide, small business employment was up by 0.12 percent. More at the Orlando Business Journal.

Who Will Be Hiring In 2020? Who Won't Be?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics national projections for 2020 offer a glimpse at which business sectors may have increased hiring in the next decade -- and which may decline. Read more and see a slideshow at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Out of the Box
Being Thomas Jefferson

thomas jeffersonMaking dinner reservations on the Fourth of July should be a cinch for Thomas Jefferson and Betsy Ross. Well, it isn't. "They always think it's a joke when we call to reserve," said Thomas Jefferson, 72, a retired high school history teacher from Miramar. "Sometimes I just have to go by Tommy." Jefferson, Betsy Ross, of Lighthouse Point, and Benjamin Franklin, of West Palm Beach, are among a handful of South Floridians who share the same names of the country's Founding Fathers and other patriotic figures.

» Full story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel