Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida unemployment rate drops to 3.5 percent
Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in September, a notable drop from 3.7 percent in August, according to state figures released Friday. The state added 16,900 jobs over the month. Nationally, unemployment was 3.7 percent. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
Orlando starts second phase of Amazon facial recognition program
The Orlando Police Department on Thursday launched a second trial period to test Amazon's controversial facial recognition technology. The software, called Rekognition, is advertised as being able to pick a person’s face out of a crowd and track their movements in real time. More from the Orlando Sentinel and WFTV.
St. Petersburg is vying to be gay tourism capital of Florida
Move over Fort Lauderdale. St. Petersburg is on a mission to become Florida’s gay tourism capital. Monthly reports and surveys by Visit St. Petersburg-Clearwater show the Sunshine City could already be on its way: 4.1 percent of respondents in the May 2018 profile identified as LGBTQ. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Walt Disney World to open nature-themed resort in 2022
Walt Disney World says it's going to build a new nature-themed resort. The Florida-based theme park resort said Thursday that the as-yet-unnamed resort will open in 2022. It will have 900 hotel rooms as well as villas for Disney's timeshare program. More from the AP.
Shareholders vote to take Miami’s biggest clothing company private
Doral-based Perry Ellis announced Thursday that a majority of shareholders had approved a $437 million buyout bid led by company founder George Feldenkreis to take the company private. The purchase price of $27.50 a share represents a premium of approximately 21.6 percent above Perry Ellis’ closing stock price on Feb. 5, 2018. More from the Miami Herald.
Oyster farmers look to rebuild after Hurricane Michael
T.J. Ward, Tommy Ward and their family’s bottom oyster leases are likely buried under silt, whatever oysters remain suffocated. Their 13 Mile Oyster House was completely destroyed by the hurricane, their shrimp business and retail seafood shop temporarily shut down while they clean out. But what about the more than half a million farmed oysters they are raising? Did the hurricane kill them and spread their high-tech equipment across the bay?
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Carol Dover, PRESIDENT & CEO of THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING ASSOCIATION says: "Florida must recognize the tourism industry is struggling with a serious labor shortage. We need to establish sound immigration reform, allowing those who want to work to be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally and work."
» Read more from Florida 500.
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