Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's jobless rate dips to 4.5 percent
Unemployment continues to slowly improve in Florida as the state gets closer to regaining the number of jobs lost when the COVID-19 pandemic caused business closures and layoffs last year. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released a report Friday that estimated the state’s November unemployment rate at 4.5 percent, down from 4.6 percent in October. Florida added 51,100 jobs from October to November. State officials credited Gov. Ron DeSantis’ policies, which included pushing to reopen the economy after it was largely shut down in spring 2020. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida election officials hunt for snowbirds, others who voted twice in 2020 election: ‘We are not playing around’
Florida election officials are hunting for snowbird voter fraud in the 2020 election, combing through records to uncover people who cast ballots in multiple states. So far three residents of the sprawling Villages retirement community have been charged with voting more than once in last year’s presidential election. Lake County has turned over another six possible cases to state prosecutors for further investigation, and Osceola County flagged seven problematic votes. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida now a community of ‘high transmission’ for COVID-19
COVID-19 cases across Florida more than doubled over the course of a week, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health on Friday. From Dec. 10 to Dec. 16, Florida had 29,568 COVID-19 cases and 134.6 cases per 100,000; the week prior, Florida had 13,530 COVID-19 cases and 61.6 cases per 100,000. This makes for an increase of 16,038 COVID-19 cases and 73 cases per 100,000 in the span of one week. The increase in the new case positivity rate saw parallel increases: From Dec. 10 to Dec. 16, Florida had a case positivity rate of 5.4%, up 2.8% from the previous week. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
Supply chain blues: Here’s what South Floridians can’t find, and why
As you’ve no doubt noticed, it’s getting harder to find certain products at grocery stores, car dealerships, auto parts stores and other shops. When the pandemic first hit in spring 2020, we became accustomed to some shortages — shoppers were hoarding cleaning supplies and paper products. But these days it’s not about hoarding. The supply chain, in all its international complexity, is leading to empty shelves. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida’s boaters and environmentalists at odds over manatees’ future
Both conservationists and pleasure boaters are now blaming the other for the sad state of affairs that have turned vast swaths of coastal Florida into manatee graveyards. For environmental champions, the lumbering manatee is an icon for the Sunshine State, drawing tourists and inspiring people to get involved in marine conservation. But to detractors and many boating enthusiasts, the animal also limits how docks get built, as well as when, where and how people can boat. [Source: Florida Today]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Shad Khan says downtown Jacksonville has 'gone downhill' but data says otherwise
On the 10-year anniversary of Shad Khan's purchase of the Jaguars, he didn't mince words about his assessment of downtown Jacksonville. "It's a long, long laundry list," he said about what still needs to be done. "Downtown, in the 10 years I've been here, it absolutely hasn't progressed. It's gone downhill." Khan's view — coming from one of downtown's biggest financial investors — stands in stark contrast to Mayor Lenny Curry's upbeat message that downtown development has been "making great strides."
› Miami’s tech sector posts banner year in 2021. Here are the top 8 developments
Depending on your timeline, technology companies have called Miami-Dade County home for decades. But in 2021, Miami tech became a nationwide movement that went into overdrive. As the pandemic bore down, tech entrepreneurs increasingly zeroed in on Miami and South Florida to do business, thanks to its relatively liberal public health safety rules, quality of life, geographic proximity and cultural resources.
› Downtown development talks deepen between Clearwater and Scientology
An introductory meeting last month between new City Manager Jon Jennings and Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has flowered into a series of discussions as the two contemplate the church’s potential involvement in downtown redevelopment. Jennings said he has had four phone calls with Miscavige since an initial meeting on Nov. 29, which also was attended by City Attorney David Margolis and Mayor Frank Hibbard.
› CEO of Orlando-based Darden Restaurants to retire in May
The CEO of Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc., the owner of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other chains, will retire in May and be replaced by the company’s president and chief operating officer. Gene Lee, 60, said Friday he will remain as board chairman after he steps down after seven years as CEO. He will be replaced by Rick Cardenas, a longtime Darden employee.
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