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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida's robust recovery outpaces nation

After being hit early and hard by the Great Recession, Florida rebounded in 2013 to lead the nation in economic growth, fueled by an increased demand for housing. Better housing prices, in turn, have boosted consumer confidence among Floridians to its highest level since the recession began in 2007. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Pricier beef 'here to stay' as food costs seen higher

U.S. food prices are expected to rise more rapidly this year after a very tame 2013, led by gains in beef, poultry and egg prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday. [Source: Reuters]

Bringing a "million orchids" to Florida's trees

Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory. When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here. [Source: NPR]

Column: Creating environment of entrepreneurialism

During Women’s History Month, we recognize the individual successes of female leaders throughout history, as well as the overall improvement of work and personal environments for women over time. [Source: Florida Today]

State commission OKs $20.8 million in incentives for "Project Magellan"

A special Florida legislative commission approved $20.8 million in state economic incentives for “Project Magellan,” an aviation company that plans to bring 1,800 jobs to Melbourne International Airport paying an average of $100,000 a year. [Source: Florida Today]


› $3M study of Florida's springs planned
Two University of Florida institutes and the St. Johns River Water Management District are starting a three-year $3 million study of the impact of pollutants on Florida's springs.

› Virgin Group raises $1.7 billion for Miami cruise line
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has raised most of the $1.7 billion it needs to build two ships and launch Virgin Cruise from PortMiami, the billionaire British entrepreneur says. Much of the investment money has come from the Middle East.

› South Florida construction contracts surge in February
McGraw-Hill Construction data for February shows a strong gain in construction contracts awarded to residential and nonresidential projects in South Florida.

› Tampa Bay Rowdies unhappy with the condition of Al Lang Stadium
With less than a month to go until opening day, the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer club filed a list of grievances with the city about their home turf, Al Lang Stadium.

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› Florida earns ‘F’ for healthcare price transparency
Healthcare prices remain a big secret, hidden from consumers in all but a handful of states, according to a report released Tuesday by a California-based nonprofit that gave Florida and 44 other states failing grades for neglecting to enact legislation and to create a public-access website that gives patients the data they need to budget personal medical expenses.

› Software firm expands to Orlando after beating hiring goals in Tampa
Bolstered by $150,000 in state and local tax breaks, a Tampa-based software developer recently launched its Orlando office with the prospect of adding at least 15 jobs over the next several years.

› South Florida leads nation in growth of immigrant high-tech entrepreneurship
A new national study released Tuesday by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that South Florida has grown faster than all other top metro areas in immigrant tech entrepreneurship. The foundation’s research also shows immigrant-owned businesses are more likely to locate in ethnically diverse metro areas that have high foreign-born populations like South Florida.

› Florida Polytechnic Enjoys Its 'Day' in Tallahassee
It's Florida Polytechnic University Day at the state capital in Tallahassee: banners are flying, robots are zipping around, the poly movie is playing and school representatives are there to chat up the new university.