FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Florida’s jobs picture appears strong. How does it compare to other big states?

By many measures, Florida’s employment picture looks good. The state’s workforce has grown and unemployment has plummeted. Even wages have improved, outpacing inflation. Florida is in a better place than five years ago. But how do we compare to the five other most-populated states — California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois? [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Research Florida: Tampa Bay has high hopes for Erik Maltais' Immertec virtual reality startup

A former high-school dropout and Marine security guard now leads a tech startup in Tampa that’s attracted investments from Steve Case and customers like Johnson & Johnson. Erik Maltais starts most days with a handful of poker chips in his left pocket. Every time he makes a sales pitch or takes some other risk that may lead to rejection or failure, he moves a chip over to his right pocket. For entrepreneurs, he says, risk-taking and overcoming the fear of rejection are essential to success. [Source: Florida Trend]

Two years after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys are still waiting on funding for recovery

Two years after Hurricane Irma barreled into the Florida Keys, some neighborhoods still show obvious signs of the aftermath of Category Four storm that leveled homes and sent boats from the water into backyards. The biggest hurdle in recovery, Coldiron says, is money. And it's not immediately available to local governments impacted by natural disasters. According to figures provided by Monroe County, the Keys have racked up $46 million in public expenses related to recovery from Hurricane Irma. [Source: KTVL]

Florida Legislature loads up on millionaires

Florida’s Legislature has more millionaires deciding how tax dollars should be spent and which laws should be passed. With all but three lawmakers in the 160-member Legislature filing annual financial-disclosure reports, the average net worth of state senators is $5.9 million, according to an analysis by The News Service of Florida. In the House, the average stands at $1.7 million. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Opinion: Is Florida ready for 2030?

The year 2030 is just around the corner for Florida, so addressing challenges on a statewide level requires immediate action. That’s what the Florida Chamber Foundation has done with its report titled “Florida: 2030.” It’s clear that Florida will be a dramatically transformed state by 2030. [Source: Ocala Star-Banner]


› Latest round in Florida conservation fight a blow to environmentalists
In a blow to environmental groups, an appeals court Monday overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that said state lawmakers improperly diverted money that flowed from a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to boost land and water conservation. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal found that Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson erred when he ruled that money from the amendment could only be used on land purchased after the voter-approved measure took effect.

› Southwest Florida construction company to relocate headquarters, tripling operations space
A construction company that provides pre-construction, earthwork and infrastructure services is relocating its headquarters from Naples to Fort Myers. The firm, EHC, started development of the new Fort Myers headquarters, a six-acre campus which will include the EHC corporate office, maintenance and repair facilities, equipment storage yard, water management facilities and additional property to triple the size of the operation when needed, according to a news release.

› Jacksonville-based Stein Mart announces a return to children’s clothes and toys
Stein Mart is expanding its product offerings by launching its new “Kids” department. The Jacksonville-based retailer now features apparel for babies, girls and boys as well as shoes and toys. “Years ago, ‘Kids’ was a fairly sizable business for us and our customers have been asking us to bring it back,” said MaryAnne Morin, Stein Mart president.

› State gas prices drop slightly over the week
State gas prices are down slightly over the week and expected to continue to drop. Florida gas prices were at $2.42 per gallon Monday on average for regular unleaded, down 2 cents over the week, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group.

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› A conservative columnist, a cult filmmaker and Blondie are coming to Miami Book Fair
Fall doesn’t seem like it’s just around the corner, but it is. Here’s how we know: Miami Book Fair has announced its “Evenings With...” lineup for 2019. The schedule for the fair, which runs from Nov. 17-24 at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, features several politically-minded guests, in keeping with the fact that we’re a year out from the 2020 presidential election.

› Hurricane Dorian prompts Visit Orlando to extend Magical Dining Month a week to Oct. 7
Because of Hurricane Dorian, Visit Orlando has extended its Magical Dining Month a week to Oct. 7. Magical Dining Month is generally a month-long program in which more than 120 restaurants offer diners a menu at a fixed price of $35. The restaurants then donate $1 of each of those meals sold to charity.

› Happy Grilled Cheese opens second Jacksonville restaurant
The Happy Grilled Cheese opened its second brick-and mortar restaurant in Mandarin to enthusiastic patrons during the weekend. Specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, the new restaurant and beer garden is at 9965 San Jose Blvd., in Merchant’s Walk shopping center.

› The Rescue Mission’s iconic cross near downtown Orlando has survived several hurricanes. But will it survive a move?
For 57 years, a red-and-white neon cross has graced the rooftop of the Orlando Union Rescue Mission near the city’s downtown as a beacon of hope to the lost and desperate. For the homeless, the 21-foot symbol at 410 W. Central Blvd. marked a place of refuge — a shelter where they could find a bed, a meal and, if they wanted, a path to sobriety. Until two years ago, even motorists on neighboring Interstate 4 could spot its iconic lights glowing in the night. The city of Orlando declared it an historic landmark in 2002.