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Friday's Daily Pulse

Jobless claims fall, holiday retail sales rise

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly a month, a hopeful sign for the labor market, while holiday retail sales rose in November and December. [Source: Reuters]

Gambling in Florida shrinks a bit

For the first time in years, there probably is less gambling in Florida today than there was a year ago. This year saw the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott approve a ban on so-called “Internet cafes” that housed gambling devices in storefronts and arcades around the state. [Source: Miami Today]

See also:
» Online-gambling fans hope Congress will clear way

Tanning beds flourish in Florida despite risks

Florida, despite its Sunshine State nickname, boasts more indoor tanning facilities than CVS pharmacies or even McDonald’s restaurants, according to a new report by University of Miami doctors studying whether skin cancer can be traced to geographic areas. More from the Miami Herald, the Huffington Post and the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Florida Trend's 55th Anniversary
In Trend's Time:
55 years of Florida
business history

We look back at milestones in our state's history and compare the way we were -Vs.- the way we are.
» Story here

Where are gas prices heading in 2014?

GasBuddy says U.S. national gasoline prices are almost certain to begin 2014 within a penny or so of where they began 2013. But we also know this masks all the volatility that occurred in between those months. [Source: Gannett]

Construction costs rise 15% in six months

One of the biggest challenges facing the real estate industry in 2014 will involve managing construction costs. Construction expenses have increased almost 15% in the past six months alone, with labor and materials become increasingly expensive as the industry rebounds. [Source: Miami Today]


› Hillsborough tourism recovering with bed taxes near pre-recession high
Don't call it a comeback. That's because — technically — Hillsborough County tourism still hasn't fully rebounded from the Great Recession. But the recovery is almost complete: Hillsborough collected $21.2 million in tourist development taxes in fiscal year 2013. That's the most the county has collected in six years.

› Shiloh launch complex is set for federal review
Space Florida's plan to build a state-run launch complex on the environmentally sensitive fringes of Kennedy Space Center is ready for its federal and public vetting over possible environmental impacts.

› Sarasota to host summit on aging
In February, some 300 or so notably upbeat professionals will convene in Sarasota to throw around words like “generativity” and “conscious eldering.”

› Office Depot employees face a new year of changes
For South Florida employees, the company's December 10 decision to base the headquarters in Boca Raton was a major hurdle. Yet the nation's No 2. office-supply company, with 66,000 employees, hasn't seen anything yet.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Brickell building boom surprised everyone
Brickell’s development business is back, and it’s booming. Whereas last decade saw empty condo towers standing tall as skeletal reminders of a recession past, 2013 saw the continued construction of the Brickell CityCentre.

Golden Spoon
Need ideas for
New Year's?

Start your evening at one of Florida's finest restaurants: The Golden Spoons.
At this easy-to-use website, you can search for a restaurant by region, by award type or by name.


› South Florida's grocery shopping options increase in 2014
Coming soon to a corner near you: at least one new grocery store. There's a lot of excitement over the long-awaited arrival of Trader Joe's in 2014, but several other stores are bracing for a fight over your grocery dollars.

› Clearwater Marine Aquarium voted ‘Best Florida Attraction’
Voters ensured that a real-life dolphin beat out a cartoon mouse for the title of “Best Florida Attraction” in 2013. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium will be announced as 10best.com’s “Best Florida Attraction” in the Friday edition of USA Today, the aquarium announced today.

› Publix lends $21M to store developer
A developer went shopping for a deal at Publix and came away with a $20.7 million construction loan from the grocery chain to redevelop a former Branch Banking & Trust Co. site in Miami into a store.