10/17/17 Personal Finance
The latest Forbes 400 richest people in America was unveiled Tuesday, with 35 billionaires on that list calling Florida home. That's actually down from 40 Florida billionaires listed last year when a full 10 percent listed declared they were Floridians by residence.
No surprise — given the soaring stock market with today's Dow briefly topping 23,000 Tuesday — most billionaires got richer in the past year. Florida's richest billionaire, Thomas Peterffy of Palm Beach, saw his net worth top $15 billion this year, rising more than $2.5 billion in just the past year....
If there's one national business saga to keep up on these days, it's the frenzy by metropolitan areas — including Tampa Bay — to make their best pitches to Amazon in the hope of being chosen as the new location for the giant online retailer's second massive headquarters. HQ2, as it is called, would create upwards of 50,000 high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of new investment in whichever city it locates in....
10/16/17 Economic Development
TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially unveiled Monday morning. Its mission: To recruit more business talent and relocations to this metro area....
Tampa Bay's business community is not only growing in size but also in depth and diversity. There's simply a lot more going on, and what's going on typically is more sophisticated and, frankly, more interesting. Welcome to a maturing metro area. Tampa Bay's still has big aspirations, as it should. And it still has plenty of challenges, as most metros do.
Here are a baker's dozen of multiple choice questions that should challenge most readers on some significant business events of recent times. Can you ace all 13? At the least, it's a good way to tell if you're really keeping up with our economic progress here. Good luck. Look for the answers at the end of the quiz....
10/13/17 Personal Finance
Now that I am officially an "older" consumer — at least based on this report's criteria — I can offer firsthand confirmation that predatory lending and a poorly monitored debt collection industry are both alive and well in Florida.
That's why a 35-page report issued Thursday — Older Consumers in the Financial Marketplace — that looks at financial complaints filed by folks 62 and older to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resonates more to me now than it might have a decade ago....
10/11/17 Economic Development
TAMPA — Was it a moment of irrational exuberance?
Top Tampa economic development leader Craig Richard on Wednesday was most unhappy to learn secondhand — after agreeing to give a luncheon speech this Friday at the Centre Club — why he was allegedly forced to cancel his appearance.
An online flyer issued by the Centre Club "Thought Leaders" group that had invited Richard claims his cancellation was "due to active, dynamic negotiations with Amazon senior management to relocate their corporate headquarters and 3,000 jobs to Tampa."...
Thanks to a single mammoth injection of venture capital into one of its start-ups, New York City topped the nation's VC rankings in sheer dollar funding in this year's third quarter ended Sept. 30.
The nation's biggest VC commitment is indeed a whopper: $3 billion going to WeWork, a Manhattan-based start-up involved in office rental and co-working space. The money comes from SoftBank Group billionaire Masayoshi Son who has pledged to invest many more billions in U.S. companies in the coming years....
10/06/17 Economic Development
I truly wonder if Amazon and billionaire founder Jeff Bezos fathomed what they were about to unleash when the Seattle retail juggernaut announced publicly that it was inviting pitches from larger (and not so large) metros across the United States and Canada.
The goal: To claim the ultimate bragging rights as the new site for Amazon's second headquarters.
It's called Amazon HQ2. And for the now hyperventilating world of metropolitan area economic developers, site selectors and business and political leaders, the pursuit of HQ2 may rank up there as the Economic Holy Grail....
LARGO — A 22-year-old non-profit specializing in forensic training "CSI"-style for law enforcement and military customers is partnering with a major South Florida university well established in forensics education.
Largo's National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) and Florida International University (FIU) announced Thursday they are joining forces to make a bigger impact in the field of forensic science. The partnership will expand the university's diverse offerings and bring NFSTC's wealth of training skills to a broader audience in this country and abroad....
09/29/17 Personal Finance
Perhaps rosy statements of our economic rebound in the United States, Florida and Tampa Bay — from low unemployment and record stock markets to rising GDP growth — should be delivered more like those drug ads pitched on TV. They all briefly promise blissful relief but must end the ads with an asterisk detailing their lengthy and often scary side effects.
Here's how the economic asterisk might read:...
Orlando may one day get its own "Tomorrowland" — one that has nothing to do with Disney's Magic Kingdom.
The city has been picked as a finalist for an ultra-high-speed transit system known as a hyperloop that would travel between Orlando and Miami in — wait for it — 26 minutes. The ground transportation system was first proposed in 2013 by Elon Musk, cofounder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and founder of space transport company SpaceX. An electric-powered hyperloop would propel passengers seated in pods through what are, in effect, pneumatic tubes at speeds potentially near 700 miles per hour....
ST. PETERSBURG – Electronics manufacturer Jabil finished its fiscal year with a financial upswing, reporting strong gains for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 in both revenues and net income over the same period a year ago. Net income was $46 million, up from $38 million.
For its full fiscal year, Jabil reported revenues of $19.1 billion, up from $18.4 billion in the prior year. Annual net income, however, fell to $129 million from $254 million a year earlier....
09/22/17 Personal Finance
The good news is Tampa Bay's median household income finally crawled above $50,000 last year. The bad news is that figure — officially $51,115 by new U.S. Census Bureau data — still puts the Tampa Bay region as the poorest of the nation's 25 largest metro areas.
This is not a new predicament for Tampa Bay. I wrote about this frankly discouraging bottom-of-the-wealth-barrel last year when Tampa Bay also ranked 25th with median household income in 2015. The increase from 2015 to 2016 comes to about 3.5 percent. That's commendable growth. But is it keeping up with Tampa Bay's metro neighbors?...
Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.
Florida ranks 45th in the nation based on average student debt load, mainly because so many students in this state attended public universities. Graduates in New England states — where pricey private schools are more prominent and more out-of-state students pay more to attend public universities — dominated the most indebted ranking. The west coast generally enjoyed the lowest debts. ...
TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.
Today, Hearst — a name once known for newspapers but who is now a powerful player in health care and technology — will announce a $75 million investment in the Moffitt spin-off known as M2Gen. ...