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Sean Snaith

University of Central Florida

It's a mostly sunny economic forecast for Florida for the next three years, boosted by a strong housing market recovery. That's according to a quarterly report released Tuesday by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

The institute’s three-year financial forecast says more homes are being built and sold, and housing prices are going up. UCF economist Sean Snaith points out that’s good news even for homeowners who aren’t planning to sell. 

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For the first time since the Great Recession, incomes are up in every major U.S. metropolitan area – including Tampa Bay.

That’s according to figures released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. From 2010 to 2011, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area saw a 3.2 percent jump in per capita personal income -- that's the region's total personal income divided by its total midyear population. Nationwide, incomes went up 4.26 percent.

Here's what folks earned on average in 2011, with 2010 wages in parentheses:

Amy Green

It may take only a little sugar to make candy and cookies tasty treats, but sugar is big business.

This election cycle, sugar growers gave more to political campaigns than tobacco companies.

Big Sugar spends big to preserve a complex government program that benefits the industry by boosting the domestic price of the crop.

It costs consumers about $2-billion annually.

And in South Florida, nearly 700,000 acres are dedicated to growing sugar cane.