August 9, 2022

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 5/23/2022

Florida unemployment drops, businesses say they still can't find employees

Florida’s unemployment rate improved from 5.1 percent in April 2021. Last month, 321,000 people qualified as unemployed from a workforce of 10.54 million. The workforce grew by 309,000 people from April 2021 to last month. The state lost 1.28 million jobs from February 2020 to April 2020, when businesses shuttered and cut back in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida has regained those jobs and added to them, with the total at nearly 1.5 million jobs, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. More from the News Service of Florida and WESH.

Florida lawmakers to target roof claims, lawyers during property insurance session

State lawmakers Friday night unveiled proposed legislation that would allow homeowners with older roofs to still get property insurance and create a fund for Floridians who want to upgrade their homes. Under a policy plan unveiled three days before lawmakers return to Tallahassee to tackle Florida’s property insurance crisis, companies would be blocked from denying coverage because of a roof’s age if the roof is less than 15 years old. More from the  Tampa Bay Times and the News Service of Florida.

Column:  If Florida's gas-tax break is such a good idea, why wait?

As our state legislators reassemble for yet another special session this week — this time, dealing with the crisis in property insurance as hurricane season starts — they ought to give very strong consideration to moving up the month of Florida’s gasoline tax holiday from October to July. In planning the state budget in their regular 2022 legislative session, lawmakers decided to suspend the state’s gas tax for October, hoping to cut the cost 25.3 cents per gallon. Hang the expense, they said, we can always dip into Florida’s share of federal coronavirus recovery funds to make up the $200 revenue loss. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]

Florida records nearly 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last 2 weeks

The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests has climbed to double-digits statewide over the past two weeks, while recorded deaths were up 17 percent and hospitalizations have also been climbing. There were 99,630 new coronavirus cases recorded over the last two weeks among Florida residents, bringing the cumulative total to 6,058,248. With 270 more fatalities on record, 74,330 Florida residents have died. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Child drowning deaths hit a record high in Florida in 2021

Florida hit a grim record last year for the number of child drowning deaths. May marks national water swim safety month, and as we head into the summer, there are some precautionary measures parents should keep in mind. The Florida Department of Children and Families says more children in Florida under the age of five died from drowning than in any other state. In 2021, Florida reported the most child drownings in the last 12 years, increasing nearly 30%. [Source: WINK News]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Miami’s Little River neighborhood stages an economic revival. Next, homes, offices planned
Just beyond Little Haiti sitting along the riverbank, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods is experiencing a commercial revival. Developers are enthralled by evolving Little River and want to play a role in its new chapter. Since February, there have been 46 new retail and restaurant leases, the acquisition of seven warehouses for $17 million, the sale of an office-retail building for $15 million and plans for a $30 million headquarters for the nonprofit Oolite Arts.

› Fans deal with massive crowds, parking woes at MegaCon 2022
MegaCon 2022 may have gotten started with a blast , but crowds came out in full force Saturday for the convention’s first weekend day, causing headaches for many. “It is incredible the amount of people I’ve seen here, [and] the sheer parking problems we had have been something else,” said Mike Mangione, who was selling laser-cut art in the convention’s exhibit hall. Still, for those who could get in to the convention center, there was plenty of fun to be had, with panels featuring celebrities like LeVar Burton and Mark Sheppard taking place in the convention center’s upper-level theaters while hordes of shoppers hit the exhibit halls on the ground floor.

› Artist Walk will expand Riverside Arts Market, add skate park in Jacksonville 
A new city park is taking root beneath the Fuller Warren Bridge in Riverside that will become part of the multi-use Emerald Trail as well as expand the popular Riverside Arts Market. Artist Walk is a linear park that will extend from the current site of RAM to Riverside Park in Five Points. Design development work is complete for Artist Walk, which will expand RAM and include an artistic skateboard park, said Daryl Joseph, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services, in an email to the Times-Union.

› Broward 911 call center workers log so much OT because of understaffing that they can double their pay
Broward County’s emergency 911 centers are so gravely understaffed that workers routinely log outlandishly long overtime shifts — enough extra work that many are doubling and tripling their regular pay, a South Florida Sun Sentinel review of payroll records revealed. In a recent six-month period, three communication operators hauled in six-figure payouts for jobs that — without overtime — would be in the $35,000 range.

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