Foreclosures continue to dog Florida, but the outlook appears to be brightening, experts say. The Sunshine State posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate in July for the third consecutive month, according to a report from the RealtyTrac listing firm. One in every 328 Florida homes was in some stage of foreclosure, more than three times the national average. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida's business climate is the second-best in the country, according to Business Facilities, finishing just behind its rival Texas. The website said Florida "surged into the Number 2 slot on the strength of Gov. Rick Scott's pledge to drastically cut back on business regulations and red tape ..." The state was also praised for its infrastructure. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The 22nd annual Citrus Expo underway in North Fort Myers isn’t confined to seminars on agriculture best management practices. Brisk business-to-business sales and citrus industry networking also are going on inside Lee Civic Center, where the two-day expo concludes today. In the center’s main arena, more than 150 companies hawk products and services ranging from packing crate art to custom irrigation system design. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]
» Heat Used Against Citrus Greening
Space Florida, the state-backed economic development agency, doubled its budget to refurbish two old space shuttle hangers in an effort to lure a secretive military project to the Kennedy Space Center. Space Florida board members agreed to add $4 million to the project, with is aimed at relocating the Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicles to Florida from California. [Source: Discovery News]
As the U.S. healthcare system undergoes sweeping changes designed to improve the health, treatment outcomes and the well-being of Americans, Florida is at the forefront of developing health programs that are quickly becoming the model for the rest of the country — innovation that requires expansion and investment. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida legislators vote down special session [AP]
Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature is coming out solidly against a special session to repeal the state's "stand your ground law." The Department of State on Wednesday released a list that showed more than half of the state's 160-member Legislature has already voted against the idea.
› Homeless shelter may move to make way for Magic complex [Orlando Sentinel]
One of the oldest homeless shelters in Orlando may be moving to make way for the Orlando Magic's proposed $100 million entertainment complex. The Magic already are negotiating to buy Orlando police headquarters and a city-owned parking garage near their home court at the Amway Center, with plans to knock them down and build on the site.
› An interactive guide to Miami’s job engines and hiring drags [Miami Herald]
Restaurants, retail and hospitals drove this recovery. Housing, public schools and government continue holding it back. An interactive Economic Time Machine chart tracks job changes between 2007 and 2012 in more than 250 industry categories in the Miami-Dade employment region
› Thousands of rowers flocking to Sarasota [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Thousands of dedicated rowers from across the country will launch boats at Nathan Benderson Park this week, as Southwest Florida hosts its biggest regatta yet — the 2013 U.S. Rowing Masters National Championships.
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› With another record tourism year in sight, Florida scrambles to sustain momentum [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida is on track for another record tourism year, reporting its best numbers ever for the second quarter and the first half of 2013. The state's tourism industry is on an impressive run the past few years – each a record breaker – given the less-than-stellar U.S. and global rebound from the recession. But is Florida's record-smashing performance sustainable?
› Two high-tech firms set sights on Brevard for major expansions [Florida Today]
Two high-tech companies are focusing on Brevard County for major expansions that they say would lead to them adding more than 400 jobs to the local economy, most relatively high-paying. The expansions also could spur the creation of more than 350 spinoff jobs locally at other companies.
› Forbes: Dolphins not gaining in value [Miami Herald]
Forbes released its annual estimate of the finances of NFL teams. The numbers offer another measure of a disappointing 2012 season for the Miami Dolphins.
› Business networking event at Port of Manatee [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Businesses of Manatee County are preparing for one of the largest networking opportunities of the year. The Manatee Chamber of Commerce expects hundreds of people to attend its Ship-Shape Showcase Thursday at Port Manatee.