Jobless claims fall sharply
The number of Americans seeking new unemployment benefits dropped sharply last week, the latest sign of steady improvement in the labor market. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 334,000 in the week ended July 13, the Labor Department said Thursday. More at the Wall Street Journal and MSN Money.
AutoNation reports double-digit quarterly gains
AutoNation, the country's largest vehicle retailer, on Thursday reported double-digit increases in revenues and profits for the just-ended quarter, leading yet again to record earnings per share. More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Orange County's $3.2B budget has no new taxes or layoffs
Orange commissioners will take up today a $3.2 billion budget that includes no new taxes or layoffs of county staff. But elected leaders must still decide if low-income senior programs hit by federal sequester cuts should get help and if Lynx bus services should expand. They also will consider whether a $2 million Holden Heights sewer system gets finished. More at the Orlando Sentinel.
Pajama-clad shoppers fill downtown St. Pete for annual Sunrise Sale
Once a year, Kay Leonard dons her furry white rabbit slippers and goes shopping. They're her go-to footwear for St. Petersburg's annual Sunrise Sale, which celebrated its 40th installment Thursday. Leonard arrived at dawn for the start of the sale along with dozens of shoppers in silk pajamas, floral robes, and sleep shorts. More at the Tampa Bay Times.
Could oysters be harvested from Duval County waters again?
It’s been 15 years since Duval County oysters were legal to harvest, but the city's waterways commission and fishing industry are wondering if it's time to change that. The question they need to resolve first is whether the economic impact is enough to warrant the money it'll cost to get the region's shellfish beds open for business. More at the Florida Times-Union.