Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Walmart to spend $1 billion to raise U.S. wages this year
Walmart said on Thursday its hourly full-time and part-time workers will earn at least $9.00 an hour, or $1.75 above the current federal minimum wage, starting in April. The increase will put Walmart workers 95¢/hour over Florida's hourly minimum wage of $8.05. In addition, Walmart plans to continue increases in 2016, and will raise employees to at least $10.00/hour by Feb. 1, 2016. More at Reuters.
» Analysis: As Walmart gives raises, other employers may have to go above minimum wage
» Walmart beats 4Q profit forecasts
Applications for unemployment aid plummet
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, a sign that a recent string of strong job gains may continue. Weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 21,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 283,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. More at the AP.
Floridians want to conserve water but not spend much to do so
A University of Florida survey found that many state residents are concerned about polluted rivers and lakes, and take steps to conserve water, but don't want to spend much or work particularly hard to protect the resource. More at the Orlando Sentinel.
Gov. Scott invites Pennsylvanians to move south for lower taxes
Governor Rick Scott is telling residents of the Keystone State that there's no better time to move to the Sunshine State and that he will visit Pennsylvania next week "to meet with businesses and job creators to urge them to move, expand and grow in Florida." Read Rick Scott's letter to Pennsylvanians, see background from the Tampa Bay Times and see also:
» Tax policies make PA a ‘target’ for business poachers such as Florida’s governor
» Pennsylvania's Gov. Wolf slams visit by Fla. governor
In a first, Publix toppled from No. 1 spot in grocery satisfaction
Publix Super Markets, the Florida juggernaut of the grocery industry, was toppled from its No. 1 national industry ranking for the first time by two supermarket chains, says a report released Wednesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI. More at the Tampa Bay Times.
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