With Labor Day behind us, millions of Floridians are returning to work today--but taking home slimmer paychecks than in previous years, according to a new report.
Over the holiday weekend, Florida International University's Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy released its annual State of Working Florida report. The CliffsNotes version is this: Florida's typical worker earns about $1,000 less today than in 2010.
If you've been to Tampa lately, you may have noticed the new landscaping on Bayshore Boulevard or the brightly lit bridges over the Hillsborough River.
You have the Republican National Convention to thank.
Much of the estimated $43 million improvements to the city are being paid for by the city and by a $50 million federal grant. Other private funders have chipped in as well.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly how much is being spent because many of the projects expedited by the RNC were already on the drawing board.
Also, others pitched in to cover costs. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have each spent $800,000 to upgrade their phone infrastructure in the convention center. Tampa Electric and TECO People's Gas are the founding sponsors of the "Lighting of the Bridges" project.
Here is a list of projects to be completed before the RNC from the city of Tampa.
The economic impact of having the Tampa Bay region reported on by 15,000 journalists is one of the main reasons given for hosting the Republican National Convention. And local business leaders are not leaving to chance the kind of impression the bay area makes.
Preparations started in January to shape how out-of-town reporters write about the Tampa Bay area during the RNC.
HART Bus ridership went up almost 6 percent last month compared to July last year and they had almost 61 thousand more bus trips this July than July 2011.
Its counterpart in Pinellas, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) , set a record. They had a 14 percent increase in ridership this past July and the highest ridership than the same month in any other year since the agency's existence.
HART spokeswoman Marcia Mejia said this increase in ridership has been going on for awhile.
From June 2011 to June 2012, Tampa Bay's unemployment rate dropped from 11.2 percent to 9 percent, according to new Labor Department figures.
That decrease gives the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area the country's second-largest unemployment drop for that time period, tied with Detroit. Only Las Vegas saw more improvement; its jobless rate fell from 14.4 percent to 12.1 percent.
Much attention is paid to Florida's unemployment rate -- which, at last check, hovered slightly above the national average at 8.6 percent.
But there's another figure to consider: the underemployment rate. That's the percentage of Floridians with part-time jobs who wish they had full-time jobs, and the percentage of discouraged workers who've stopped looking for jobs altogether.
Hotels in St. Petersburg and Tampa did well in June.
Hotel occupancy rates in the Tampa- St. Petersburg area went up 5.8 percent from last year. The average daily rate rose 4.7 percent and the revenue per available room increased 10.8 percent. That's according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The Republican National Convention is putting the brakes on most downtown Tampa public transportation. Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, or HART, announced today, the majority of downtown routes will be detoured or closed from August 27th through the 31st.
Aside from a shuttle to Tampa General Hospital, all other downtown Tampa bus routes will temporarily change during the RNC. The detours will keep most of the bus traffic north of Kennedy Boulevard.
Outdated labor statistics, restrictions on training money and a lack of coordination are three hurdles in the way of creating new Florida jobs according to a policy report just released by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
When Kim Poppke represents the Hernando County Airport at trade shows, the conversation inevitably takes the same turn.
"Anywhere that I talk to anybody outside of this area, they don't know where Hernando County is," said Poppke, the airport's marketing and property coordinator. "Naturally, the next thing out of my mouth is, 'Well we're 35 minutes north of the Tampa airport.'"
The state added 9,000 jobs in June, according to today's unemployment report. This is the 23rd consecutive month of job growth in the state. DEO chief economist Rebecca Rust says most employees gained jobs in four major fields.