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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida consumer confidence up from year ago

Floridians kept their rising confidence in the economy with a University of Florida survey showing spirits were higher than a year ago. Consumer confidence throughout the state remained in December at 77, the same as the revised November reading and three points above last year. Floridians' confidence in the economy has appeared to rebound after five months of dropping spirits from June until October. More from the Orlando Sentinel and UF News.

The year in Southwest Florida business

Hertz Corp. will likely be etched in the annals of history as the hero of Southwest Florida’s business environment in 2013. The Fortune 500 company’s door-opening decision to relocate its New Jersey headquarters to Estero overshadowed any other business transaction in the three county region, resonating louder than even the sound of home construction to stagnant gated communities and long empty lots. [Source: Florida Weekly]

Retailers to roll out huge after-Christmas deals

Ho-ho-humph. For skeptics of holiday hype, here comes the last holiday sale of 2013. For all the holding off and cutting back that consumers have been doing, retailers are hoping for a huge after-Christmas surge. But, once again, they may be disappointed. [Source: Florida Today]

See also:
» Bargain-hungry shoppers buy less on weekend before Christmas

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Rearview mirror: the workplace challenges of 2013

Changes in technology, the workforce and how employers balance traditional workplaces with the increasing ability for employees to work remotely combine to make the future of the workplace a tricky place to navigate. [Source: Miami Herald]

Opposition to flood insurance rate hikes is strong

Whether they live in Hillsborough County or Pinellas County, whether they live in homes that were losing lower, subsidized flood rates or not, a clear majority of registered voters polled earlier this month oppose the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood rate hikes that started earlier this year. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Florida Leaders Betting Lots on Upcoming SunRail Launch
Central Florida will embark this spring on one of its largest mass transportation experiments when service begins on the first 32-mile phase of the $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train, an effort to ease nightmarish traffic and protect the region's long-term economic health.

› Column: Thinking green one business at a time
I went to Sarasota County's eighth workshop on sustainability expecting to hear a lot of angst about pollution, global warming and rising sea levels. Instead, it sounded more like a Chamber of Commerce meeting, with an emphasis on jobs and buying local, from qualifying businesses.

› Daily fines begin for unemployment claims website vendor
The state of Florida is starting daily fines against the company that built the state's new unemployment claims website. The Department of Economic Opportunity on Monday began fining Deloitte Consulting $15,000 a day.

› Hollywood firm loans to small businesses
Four years ago, Bob Press started TCA Global Credit Master Fund in Hollywood when he noticed that even with the economy improving, small businesses were still finding it hard to get capital to keep their companies running.

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› Orlando firm competes in world of 3-D printing
Orlando entrepreneur Ken Church said his first brush with 3-D printing came years ago when he used a tiny laser beam to put an antenna on the head of an ant.

› Ban on harvesting Goliath grouper is revisited
The possible future of South Florida fishing rules — including the latest information on Goliath grouper populations — goes before combined panels of federal and state fishery experts convening Jan. 7-9 in Key Largo.

› Florida Race for House Sets Stage for 2014
The race to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Representative C. W. Bill Young is being viewed as an early litmus test, particularly for the Democrats. A winner here could stoke momentum nationally and in Florida heading into the November election

› FPL withdraws $822 million plan for 'peaking units'
Florida Power & Light Co. has withdrawn an $822 million proposal to replace decades-old turbines that fire up to meet peak demand, pending environmental tests. The decision means customers won't be asked to pay more on electric bills in 2014 to fund the project.