Florida's economy is showing signs of continued recovery, but a new analysis prepared by state economists also points to some problems. State economists on Monday released a 29-page snapshot looking at everything from wages to housing prices and unemployment. [Source: AP]
Florida's economy is back. Real estate is surging, unemployment is down and tourism is rising. Some counties are hard at work diversifying their economies while others are beginning to capitalize on major infrastructure. Access full story here.
The six-month period to enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act ended on Monday much as it began in October: with computer problems that prevented consumers from signing up through the HealthCare.gov website. But unlike the glitch-addled launch of the federally-run website that serves 36 states — including Florida — the closing day included tangible measures of success. [Source: Miami Herald]
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline inched up 2 cents in the past week. Typical spring factors like refinery maintenance, increasing demand and the switch to summer-blend fuel remain part of the story. The most expensive prices in the Southeast are found in Florida. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
» Why are Tampa Bay gas prices climbing?
Gov. Rick Scott signed the first substantive bill of the session Monday, creating a program that will waive out-of-state tuition fees for military veterans. The "Florida G.I. Bill" will also connect veterans to potential employers, and pump money into continuing education and industry certification programs. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Darden turns scraps into animal feed [Orlando Sentinel]
Did Mom and Dad used to make you feel guilty for not cleaning your plate? Don't worry. At some Central Florida restaurants, that excess food is going to good use. Darden Restaurants is experimenting with turning leftovers into feed for cattle and chickens.
› Cloudy skies dim light from FPL solar plant [Miami Herald]
Built by Florida Power & Light Co., the plant is a complex and expensive foray into breaking the state’s dependency on oil, coal and natural gas. But after three years in operation, the plant is making less power than expected.
› Florida festivals educate about crops, support teachers [The Packer]
Two commodity festivals are designed to help familiarize the Sunshine State’s residents about the importance of blueberries and sweet corn. Growers participate but the focus is on consumers, with vendors selling a variety of foods including blueberries.
› Chamber joins with Citizens for Space Exploration [Florida Today]
Although most people will never travel in space, everyone likely uses a NASA by-product on a daily basis. From cell phones to invisible braces, the technologies and products discovered while working on manned space travel have improved our daily lives.
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› Orlando OKs soccer stadium construction deal [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando leaders approved an agreement Monday that provides the closest look yet of the features fans can expect to see in the city's new Major League Soccer stadium. Mayor Buddy Dyer said the $84 million stadium's design will encourage the festive vibe that professional soccer games are known for.
› The nation's – and the state's – lenders improve performances [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
More than five years after a U.S. financial industry meltdown threatened to push the nation into an economic depression, Florida's largest banks are in better shape to handle another severe downturn.
› Changes may be coming to state employee health insurance plans [Tallahassee Democrat]
State workers may have to decide next year whether they want a health-insurance plan with more benefits and higher monthly premiums or a cheaper one with fewer benefits and more take-home pay.
› Jacksonville women's conference aims to inspire, empower women of all ages [Florida Times-Union]
The revelation came to Donna Orender when she was president of the WNBA, the women’s professional basketball league. Despite advances, women still had a long way to go to achieve equality in sports, business and government.