Throughout the state, the construction and hospitality-industry sectors have posted significant job gains in the past year, as have white-collar sectors like financial activities and professional and business services. More at the Miami Herald the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Bloomberg News.
An optometrist had to take out a loan to pay his employees. A waitress had to find another job because the customers stopped coming. A property manager had to give up the extras in her life the year “the whole summer got canceled.” Four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, these people are among thousands of Gulf Coast businesses and their employees awaiting the reimbursements promised by BP. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program for university and college students has been on the decline in recent years. At its peak, the merit scholarship program — created in 1997 and funded from Lottery proceeds — spent $429 million a year and provided financial support to 179,000 students. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The value of South Florida's trade with the world fell by 7 percent in the first two months of this year, continuing the downward trend of late 2013, new data show. South Florida's goods trade slipped to $18 billion for the two-month period from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A raise or perhaps a new perk may be around the corner if you're employed in South Florida. Employers are feeling pressure to increase workers' wages and benefits to stay competitive as the economy continues to improve in Broward County, according to a report. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Law would protect Florida children from identity theft [Orlando Sentinel]
You've taught your kids about stranger danger. You make sure they wear helmets when riding a bike and seat belts in a car. But how do you protect them from someone stealing their identity? In the growing scourge of identity theft, children — with their pristine credit histories — are an especially lucrative target.
› Universal takes bigger share of theme-park attendance [Orlando Sentinel]
Universal Orlando's second Harry Potter land is set to open by summer, and that could be bad news for Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando.
› A banner 2013 for Pinellas tourism is leading to a strong 2014 [Tampa Bay Times]
2012 was Pinellas County's best year ever for tourism. But it didn't get to hold the record for long. That's because 2013 results are in, and now it stands as the best year ever in the annals of Pinellas tourism.
› Launched, grown, sold: What’s next for .CO co-founders? [Miami Herald]
Champagne popped and bonuses flowed after .CO Internet closed its chapter as an independent company and became part of the publicly traded Neustar last week.
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› St. Petersburg officials will give food truck regulations another shot this spring [Tampa Bay Times]
The city is moving forward with changes to make it easier for food trucks to operate downtown. The issue began more than two years ago as mobile kitchens like Maggie Loflin's began popping up in St. Petersburg, part of a larger trend that has saturated much of the rest of the nation.
› As Campus USA's new CEO, Benton sees room for growth [Gainesville Sun]
After a nationwide search that produced 30 applicants, Campus USA Credit Union's board of directors decided that the best person to replace Larry Scott as CEO was the man who had served as chief operations officer under Scott for the past 14 years.
› Marijuana firm buys Manatee buildings for possible grow facility [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Cannabis-Rx, a publicly traded company that appears to be positioning itself in advance of a medical marijuana vote in Florida later this year, has acquired a trio of industrial buildings just north of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
› Home investment firms raise rents to build profits [Tampa Bay Times]
Times Seven of the largest investors buying homes in the Tampa Bay area have in two years spent more than $1 billion, amassing 6,800 houses, a Tampa Bay Times analysis of property records, foreclosure auctions and Securities and Exchange Commission filings has found.