December 4, 2020

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/23/2020

Florida’s economy has entered a ‘partial recovery.' Here’s how that’s playing out

Florida’s economy regained ground over the summer as businesses reopened and rehired. But it has hardly returned to its robust pre-pandemic state. While the early months of the pandemic were characterized by widespread unemployment, plummeting tourism and spiking delinquencies on power bills and mortgages, late summer and early fall saw a smoothing out of those numbers. The result is what economists are calling a “partial recovery.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» New unemployment applications in Florida decline for first time in weeks as layoffs ebb
» Florida’s unemployment claims show steep decline, but the numbers disguise a problem

Florida reports 5,557 new COVID-19 cases, most in over two months

Florida health officials on Thursday reported 5,557 people tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time in the latest results. It’s the most new infections on a daily coronavirus report since the state tallied 6,352 cases on Aug. 15. It could be an indication that cases are begining to trend higher, or it may be due in large part to a major increase in test results processed by the state over the past day. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Meet NextEra, America’s most valuable energy firm

As America’s oil industry flails, its most valuable utility, Florida-based NextEra, has soared. It is already the world’s top generator of wind and solar electricity. When NextEra presented its latest quarterly results on October 21st, it said it now has about 15 gigawatts of renewable projects in its pipeline, larger than its entire existing renewables portfolio. Net profit jumped to $1.3bn, up by 13% year on year. [Source: Economist]

Visit Florida tries to draw tourists from East Coast

With ads now running in East Coast markets promoting colorful, uncluttered parts of Florida, the state’s tourism leader said Wednesday her agency will continue “aggressive” marketing. Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young told participants in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s virtual Future of Florida Forum that the second phase of a roughly $13 million marketing effort is underway to revive the state’s tourism industry during the coronavirus pandemic. The first phase involved trying to spur Floridians to explore the state. More from CBS Miami and WUSF.

Florida schools are slow to spend $693 million in federal coronavirus aid

As Florida schools prepared to reopen this fall, worries over whether they’d have adequate supplies to handle coronavirus complications topped the list of concerns. To help cover the costs, which might otherwise cripple districts' already tight budgets, the federal government provided $693.2 million in CARES Act money to Florida schools. State officials crafted a detailed but broad-ranging list of 14 “allowable activities” for spending the money, including cleaning and sanitizing materials, educational technology and other items to “maintain the operation of and continuity of services.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Construction starts on once-doubted JEA headquarters in downtown Jacksonville
The rattle and clank of heavy equipment digging inside crater-sized holes leaves no doubt construction has finally begun on a new JEA headquarters building in downtown Jacksonville. The new headquarters won't bring more employees into downtown because JEA's existing headquarters is just a few blocks away, but the $75 million project marks a rare case of Class A office space being added to the core of downtown's Northbank.

› Orlando startup accelerator Rally sees surge in interest. Here’s why.
A local startup accelerator soon will begin its winter cohort, and applications have been pouring in. Orlando-based social enterprise business accelerator Rally opened the application window for its seventh cohort on Oct. 1. The accelerator, which provides coaching for startups and small nonprofits with a social impact element to their business model, is seeing a surge in local interest during this latest application window.

› Feds consider plan to transfer Florida wetlands permitting to state
To start the virtual meeting, an Environmental Protection Agency official sought to make one point clear: “No decision on Florida’s request has been made,” said Jeaneanne Gettle, the water division director for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Southeast region. But even as the agency deliberates on whether to give the state control over key wetlands permitting, advocates on both sides have long since made up their minds.

› 1,600 people to be laid off from Orlando-based Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare company
After more than six months on unpaid furloughs, 1,600 employees are being permanently laid off from Orlando-based Hilton Grand Vacations, one of the country’s largest timeshare companies. In a letter sent to employees earlier this month, the company’s executive vice president Charles Corbin wrote that for the affected employees, their last day will be Oct. 31. He said they would be eligible for severance, but health benefits for the most part would expire that same day.

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