04/24/17 Economic Development
TAMPA — I'm not sure whether to credit the mushroom ricotta stuffed Paccheri pasta or wild boar lasagna at the Cena restaurant.
Such tasty Italian fare, it can be argued, is at least one good reason a billion-dollar company based in a Tampa office park near I-75 committed to relocate its headquarters and 250 employees to downtown Tampa's Channel District.
Tampa's Quality Distribution Inc., a long established area bulk transport trucking business, plans to move downtown, committing to a 10-year lease for 45,000 square feet of commercial office space inside the Grand Central at Kennedy building....
04/21/17 Economic Development
A pair of site selection experts hired by Pinellas County this year to give an unvarnished look at the high-density county's challenging prospects for economic development and better wages offered up the good, the bad — and a warning.
If Florida or the Tampa Bay region's economic development organizations fail to provide traditional marketing or support to corporate projects recruited to this market, there will be a painful price in lost jobs and investment paid by the area economy....
So the Tampa Bay Rays may be worth "only" $825 million, the lowest valued team in Major League Baseball. Let's not poor-mouth a pro sports franchise value that Forbes this month says increased a whopping 27 percent in just one year. Thank TV contracts more than attendance for the big bump.
That's the kind of return we tend to hear about from fancypants hedge funds, not baseball franchises. Could the Rays be doing better business-wise? Sure. Who couldn't? Here are five numbers about the Rays, offered up in Forbes' annual "Business of Baseball" look at the financial side of Major League Baseball teams....
04/14/17 Personal Finance
Surveys seem to come out by the boatload and all say essentially the same thing. Too many people know diddly about money, investing, insurance, how to save, how to spend or borrow wisely, or how to prepare for retirement.
In fact, just 16 percent — about one of every six — American adults are considered proficient in personal finance, finds a new study by TIAA-Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. We hear versions of the same stories all the time....
Buckle up, United. The airlines brand is now subterranean, lower even than the reputations of Wells Fargo, Sean Spicer and Walmart's Organic Spring Mix Salad with Dead Bat.
Few corporations have been pilloried in recent times as often or innovatively (thank you, Twitter and Late Night TV) as United. Most folks fly and wish they didn't. And the smartphone video of the Chicago goon squad manhandling the screaming-then-bloodied United Airlines passenger, a 69-year-old Kentucky doctor named David Dao, is already in the Corporate Stupidity Hall of Shame....
04/13/17 Economic Development
TAMPA — A think tank analyst who tracks how the world's metropolitan area economies grow told a business audience Thursday that Tampa Bay may be returning to its pre-recession days in employment but is lagging in general prosperity — mainly due to a hollowing out of middle wage jobs.
"We have not achieved pre-recession levels for median household incomes yet," said Marek Gootman, a fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "We are having trouble with middle-income jobs that are shrinking. Economic success cannot just be about job growth."...
Let's not forget another Florida business that's booming right along with tourism.
Florida's Indian gaming industry is prospering with more than $2.6 billion in casino revenues, growing faster than the state's economy. By size, the Sunshine State ranks third among the 28 states where Indian tribes operate gaming businesses.
Florida's success in Indian gaming outstripped the industry's national gaming growth in 2015. Florida gaming revenues soared 9.3 percent. Nationwide, such revenues rose 5.5 percent. This was the sixth straight year of growth following the Great Recession and generated a record $30.5 billion in gaming revenue nationwide....
With a few very pointed exceptions, the U.S. economy continues to radiate momentum.
The stock market's rapid rise in recent months has stunned and delighted investors. Corporate profits are setting recent records, as are the stock prices of more than a few Tampa Bay area companies. Friday's March job report, less than stellar after boffo hiring numbers in January and February, may turn out to be a pause rather than a trend. Even so, the nation's unemployment rate still dropped to 4.5 percent, the lowest it has been in nearly ten years....
Judging from whose clients appear more or less satisfied with their investment firms, I'd rather be Charles Schwab & Co. than Raymond James Financial. Then again, I'd rather be Raymond James than Morgan Stanley or AXA Advisors.
Such is the pecking order in a new J.D. Power survey of 20 investment firms ranked by how satisfied investing clients are with their firms. Ranked "among the best," Schwab tops the list, followed closely by Fidelity Investments and Edward Jones....
Think of 2017's Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces report as a celebration of 100 area businesses where employees like to work, feel recognized and supported, routinely give back to their community, see a clear corporate direction and believe their bosses will guide them there. Oh yeah, staffers at these businesses generally work hard and have fun along the way.
04/06/17 Working Life
Are innovative millennials a potent part of Florida's future? That answer remains stubbornly elusive, no matter how much we want an influx of youthful vigor and smarts to power this state and region's economy ahead.
Making Tampa a magnet for millennials is a permanent pitch in Mayor Bob Buckhorn's speeches. Economic development groups for many years have pondered better ways to make Tampa Bay more appealing to adults 35 and under, both to retain homegrown talent and to attract the young and the smart from afar....
With the Tampa Bay economy humming along, people relocating here from afar at a brisk clip and the metro jobless rate at close to 4.5 percent, this market's moving back into the fast lane. That means there's more economic action and business news to keep up with than we've seen in some time.
Are you paying attention? Got the chops to put your knowledge of the recent regional business scene to the test? Then try this simple (ha!) quiz. All it asks is to answer 15 easy (ha!) multiple-choice questions about top business events — all from the first quarter of this year. That covers only three months. What could be easier (ha!)....
03/29/17 Personal Finance
Sure, we know Florida has regained its status as a hot spot for retirees. Just look at all the boomers pouring into the state by the thousands.
They're just not the only ones coming here in droves.
Billionaires have discovered Florida. Or more likely its lack of state income tax, a benefit that likely saves some of the richest transplants here more in a year than many people make in a lifetime....
Workplace pay may be showing some slight signs of life but, for the vast majority of workers, wages have remained pretty flat in recent years.
Many top executives apparently did not get that memo. A sampling of the compensation received by many area CEOs, university presidents and health care officials shows mostly robust pay packages for a majority of top execs in Tampa Bay.
TECO Energy CEO John Ramil, now retired from the Tampa power company, so far tops the pay scale for executives of publicly traded companies as of 2016. His $23.1 million package was a one-time bonanza as it includes money for retirement and for selling TECO, parent of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, to Emera, a Canadian energy company....
03/17/17 Economic Development
From economy to education to leadership, there are dozens of potential frontburner issues Tampa Bay must confront. But let's separate the wheat from the chaff. Here's my take on four top priorities this region needs to get a better handle on.
Our sagging infrastructure
Earlier this month, the American Society of Civil Engineers delivered its "Infrastructure Report Card" with an embarrassing D+ grade to the quality of U.S. roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure. It's a respected assessment that the engineering group publishes every four years. The group said an additional $2 trillion in funding is needed to raise the standards....