After years of trimming jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, contractors and subcontractors say the pendulum has swung the other way and now they are looking to hire skilled workers who are no longer available in the job market. To make up the shortfall, builders are training workers themselves and recruiting from outside the area. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]
Within Florida, the drive-or-fly decision can be problematic, particularly when it comes to traveling to Tallahassee. Airfare between Tallahassee and Miami can cost $400 round trip and often involves a stop in Atlanta. Traveling by plane between Orlando and Fort Lauderdale can set a passenger back more than $300. Access full story.
About 1.8 million Floridians today choose to live in a mobile home, a crowd five times the size of Tampa and mostly earning less than $30,000 a year. A new wave of investors is spending millions to profit off their business, amid a growing market of retirees and working poor who can't live anywhere else. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Alex Ramirez is the first in her family to go to college. But even with grants and scholarships lined up, the high-school senior said she has less than half of the $10,000 she needs for tuition. So, Ramirez is launching her own mini-business to get cash for college. She joins other students trying to raise money in creative ways. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Congress is poised this week to approve a bill clearing the way for federal spending to expand the four Florida seaports. House and Senate negotiators have struck a deal on a major water-projects bill that authorizes spending $2 billion in Florida, mostly for the ports. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› National food chains licking lips over Florida sites [Bradenton Herald]
Several retail and restaurant chains could expand into Florida this year for the right deal. As much as mom-and-pop restaurants, Florida is a breeding ground for chain restaurants. Companies such as Hooter's, Outback, Bone fish Grill, Red Lobster, First Watch and PDQ started here before going national.
› Steps to get unemployed benefits may be eased [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida residents who lose their jobs may avoid two controversial steps for getting unemployment benefits. Legislation awaiting a decision by Gov. Rick Scott would eliminate the skills test used to assess applicants' math and problem-solving skills.
› In Southwest Florida, vacation homes are hot [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Vacation home sales surged lately, even as investment property purchases have tapered off. Buyers in 2013 acquired vacation homes at a 30 percent faster clip than the prior year -- while investment sales fell 8.5 percent -- according to a study by the National Association of Realtors.
› Decades after conception, Miami has a port tunnel [Miami Herald]
Directional arrows over the westbound lanes of the PortMiami tunnel shone bright green Friday morning as hundreds of workers put the finishing touches on the $1 billion, under-the-bay facility. The arrows served as symbolic indicators that the tunnel, more than 30 years in the making, is almost ready to open.
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› Sarasota tourism leaders urge county not to divert promotion funding [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Arts need promoting. Beaches need renourishing. The stadium needs maintaining. As Sarasota County officials attempt to use their tourist tax receipts to draw as many visitors as possible, they are considering shifting 3.5 percent of tourism dollars from promotions to events and capital projects like a convention center.
› Beef on the rise: Businesses, consumers adjust to record prices [Daytona Beach News-Journal]
Record high beef prices are causing some restaurants, businesses and consumers to make changes as the summer grilling season approaches. On the other hand, it has provided a welcome boost to cattle growers.
› 5 perceptions of Orlando in New York: A swamp? [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando businesspeople recently traveled to New York to boost efforts aimed at rebranding the region as a business hub. It’s part of the campaign titled “Orlando: You don’t know the half of it,” by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
› How Tampa Bay won key Bristol-Myers Squibb expansion [Tampa Bay Times]
There are business recruitments. And then there are game-changing business recruitments. A big example of the latter is the January arrival in Tampa of pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb and its opening of its North America Capability Center promising 600 jobs in office space near Tampa International Airport.