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It looks as though Florida’s reputation as a friendly place to retire remains secure.

Florida's Economy Reaches $1 Trillion

Jul 17, 2018

Florida’s economy has reached the $1 trillion gross domestic product milestone, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Becoming a $1 trillion economy means Florida is continuing to grow and create jobs, keeping unemployment lower than the national average, and creating economic opportunity,” Jerry Parrish, the foundation’s chief economist, said in a press release.

We haven’t heard much from Miguel Díaz-Canel since he became the new President of Cuba three months ago. But new regulations for private Cuban businesses came out Tuesday - and they may confirm fears that Díaz-Canel doesn’t wield much power.

Seminole County is the first US government agency to accept cryptocurrency as payment for county services. And according to a coinmap.org study, Tampa and Miami are ranked in the top 10 bitcoin-friendly cities in the world. With cryptocurrency usage growing,  Florida’s Chief Financial Officer plans to regulate the industry.

Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

President Trump is unhappy with Harley-Davidson's plans to move production of motorcycles it sells in Europe overseas, in response to growing trade friction between the United States and Europe.

In a tweet sent out Monday afternoon, Trump said he was surprised that Harley-Davidson "of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag. I fought hard for them...."

When the Dow Jones industrial average was created more than 120 years ago, it included 12 companies. Nearly all of the names faded away long ago: United States Leather Co., Distilling & Cattle Feeding Co., Chicago Gas Light And Coke Co.

Father’s Day is around the corner, with the average Floridian family spending $133 on their dad. The Florida Retail Federation says with unemployment at a 10-year-low and a strong state economy, the retail industry remains robust for this holiday.

Irma Insurance Losses Close To $10 Billion

Jun 15, 2018

Insurance loss estimates from Hurricane Irma have hit $9.7 billion, up by more than $1 billion since April, according to the latest numbers posted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Insurers also advised the state agency that the number of claims had reached 987,767 from the massive and deadly September storm. The was up more than 54,000 from when numbers were previously updated in April.

Officials said they expected claims to be made for more than a year after the storm, as property owners are able to get complete assessments of the damages.

Florida's citrus growers are blaming Hurricane Irma for one of their worst seasons in decades.

In a Naples Daily News report , U.S. agriculture officials said Florida's orange production dropped nearly 35 percent from the previous season. Grapefruit production was half of what it was last year.

In a victory for Amazon, the Seattle City Council voted to repeal a tax on the city's biggest businesses Tuesday, a measure designed to fund efforts to combat Seattle's large homeless population.

In a meeting punctured with shouting from activists, council members voted 7-2 to repeal the so-called "head tax," which would have raised about $47 million per year to fund affordable housing projects and to help the city's homeless population.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve increased a key interest rate again Wednesday, which will trigger higher rates on credit cards, home equity lines and other kinds of borrowing.

On a cold December night last year, a meeting was called in the lobby of my apartment building. Concerned residents gathered to discuss a matter of great import: what to do about the swarms of packages jamming the lobby closet and overflowing into the entryway.

Unclaimed boxes were an eyesore and a nuisance. Finding the right package was starting to require gymnastic ability. And the boxes kept coming, by the dozens, maybe hundreds. Most of them were from Amazon: brown, with a smile on the side.

Seminole Hard Rock

The owners of Florida's biggest casino are starting a massive nearly $700 million expansion that will make it even larger.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET Friday

Sears Holdings Corp., which controls Sears and Kmart, says it has "identified approximately 100 non-profitable stores, 72 of which will begin store closing sales in the near future," in the latest sign of the retailer's struggles to stay afloat.

After a rise before the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices in Florida are expected to drop. AAA says oil prices are dropping and gas is expected to follow.

In Florida the average gallon of unleaded is $2.91. That’s compared to the national average of $2.97, said AAA spokesman Josh Carrasco.

“What we do expect is that gas prices should decline probably five to ten cents over the next few weeks,” said Carrasco.

Orlando has one of the lowest gas price averages in the state at $2.88 a gallon.

Spirit Airlines is a major economic force in South Florida: it is the second largest carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; it is a top five employer in Broward County with more than 3,000 regional employees; and it is one of the largest South Florida companies with more than $2.5 billion in annual revenue.

Google Maps

The Mosaic Company, which already has a large presence in the Tampa Bay area, is moving its corporate headquarters to Hillsborough County.

Busch Gardens

People who visited Busch Gardens in Tampa over a decade ago might remember receiving free samples of beer.

That program was discontinued in 2009 after then-owner Anheuser-Busch sold the theme park and its sibling park, SeaWorld, to the Blackstone Group.

WUSF Public Media

Florida’s tourism arm is touting marketing efforts that attracted an increase in travelers from America’s northern neighbor, less than a year after admitting the state had taken its Canadian visitors for granted.

Port Tampa Bay

The Port of Tampa welcomed the M/V Ireland, one of the largest ships to ever enter Tampa Bay Sunday morning. The Ireland will deliver materials needed for local construction.

Tuesday's tax day computer glitch at the IRS prevented the agency from accepting millions of tax returns and forced the IRS to extend the filing deadline for another day.

We now have a better idea of what happened to cause the snafu.

According to an IRS official, the problem arose at 4 a.m. EDT Tuesday, which was the day tax returns were due and the busiest day of the tax year for the IRS.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision that barred states from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases.

But after the arguments, it looked as though a court majority just might preserve the status quo, and that would be a huge victory for online sellers.

The case presents a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the outcome will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small.

http://www.newstpetepier.com/

The St. Petersburg Pier will undergo a name change and reconstruction over the course of the next year and the city is thinking about accepting bids for naming rights, according to the Business Observer.

A program to distribute federal disaster aid to Florida farmers hit by Hurricane Irma will be set up within the next 100 days, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Friday.

Kevin T. Houle/Flikr

Nielsen Media Research, Inc., which has measured television advertising and programing since 1950, is one of the largest employers in Pinellas County. But starting in May, they'll lay off 328 workers in Oldsmar, reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

FGCU Athletics/WGCU

Florida used to be the premier spot for Major League Baseball’s spring training, but a growing number of professional teams are heading to Arizona instead of the Sunshine State for their preseason workouts.

Southeastern Grocers

Southeastern Grocers announced plans to close 94 stores, including 10 Winn-Dixie stores in the Tampa Bay area.

The number of Floridians out of work is starting to rise.

Zillow

If you're looking to buy your first home, search no further than right here in the Tampa Bay area.

Real estate website, Zillow, recently ranked Tampa as the number one market for first-time home buyers.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of spending another $61 million on maintenance of Tampa’s Amalie Arena.

Commissioner Stacy White was the only one of seven to vote against this plan Wednesday.

“I felt it would be premature to be spending such a large amount of the Tourist Development Tax revenues without knowing if they would become available in the future for critical County needs,” he said in a statement.

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