This week marked the second committee week for the upcoming 2015 Session. This was an opportunity for many of the new faces of the committees to introduce themselves and get to know how the process works. It was also time for getting down to business. Jesse Panuccio from the Department of Economic Opportunity and Melissa Medley from Enterprise Florida both gave excellent presentations and overviews. It was wonderful to hear the Committee members giving well-deserved accolades to both groups for a job well done. It is amazing the stats and the wonderful leaderships we have at the helm to keep moving Florida forward.
A discussion on Enterprise Zones has already begun. There will be presentations and discussion next month during Committee week and we expect to be front and center in the discussion. Please be prepared that as we move our legislative agenda forward to include funding for our partners, the Florida business brand, rural issues and the Enterprise Zone discussions, we will need your help in keeping economic development issues at the top of the legislative agenda. It will take all of us to get the results we need.
in Fort Lauderdale. We are looking to a great turnout from every part of the state. This symposium promises to bring great information and insight into the site selection process. We have two half day sessions jam packed with great information. I look forward to seeing you all there. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions, 954-319-2435.
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
December Employment Statistics Released
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) press release covering national employment and unemployment estimates for December 2014 and the BLS Commissioner’s statement were released this morning.
- The national unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in December 2014, down 0.2 percentage point from the November rate of 5.8 percent and down 1.1 percentage points from 6.7 percent a year ago
- Total nonagricultural employment was 140,347,000 in December 2014, an increase of 252,000 jobs (+0.2 percent) over the month and an increase of 2,952,000 jobs (+2.1 percent) over the year.
Florida’s December 2014 labor statistics will be released on Friday, January 23, 2015.
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Enterprise Florida and DEO Pitch Legislature for Money for a “Perfect Business Climate” Campaign
Gov. Rick Scott’s marketing plan for the state of Florida is starting to come into focus. In his second term inaugural address Tuesday, Scott called on the businesses and people of California, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois to move to Florida.
The House Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee Wednesday got a preview of what Scott’s message will be while traveling the country for the next four years – Florida has the “Perfect Business Climate.” Enterprise Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity told lawmakers Florida has a remarkable story to tell about the last four years. DEO Secretary Jesse Panuccio said Florida leads the nation in job and labor growth and decline in unemployment.
“Policies matter,” said Panuccio, citing job growth, lower unemployment numbers and an increase in the labor force. “There are reasons our labor force has increased by 243,000 people and our growth rate is nearly triple the national growth of labor; people vote with their feet, (and go) where they see good markets and opportunities.” Panuccio said what the state needs now is a marketing campaign to spread the word. He was followed to the lectern by Enterprise Florida’s Melissa Medley who reviewed a “record-breaking year” for Florida economic development efforts. “Everyone knows we are number one in tourism,” said Medley. “We have the story to tell but we don’t have the marketing budget to tell that story.” Medley said Enterprise Florida and 19 organizations raised $1.4 million for a Perfect Business Climate Campaign that resulted in direct contact with more than 2,300 site consultants and business decision makers. She and Panuccio urged committee members to direct more money to the effort.
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2015 Florida Tax Watch Economic Preview
Florida TaxWatch, the state’s nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute and government watchdog group, expects another year of economic growth and recovery in 2015, according to their 2015 Economic Preview. The independent analysis reports that Florida’s economy will grow faster than the nation and Florida employment is expected to outpace the nation again in 2015.
“Florida had a very successful year in 2014, as shown by our state’s latest revenue increases and jobs numbers, and Florida’s economy and job growth should keep climbing in 2015,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Florida is making the right economic investments and we are consistently beating the rest of the nation in development and growth. Even our latest population numbers show that people want to be a part of what we’re doing here in Florida.”
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Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation’s Third Most Populous State
By adding an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau state population estimates released today. Florida’s population grew by 293,000 over this period, reaching 19.9 million. The population of New York increased by 51,000 to 19.7 million.
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The Year Ahead: A glimpse at the Economic Outlook for South Florida
The resurgent South Florida economy has the recession and real estate collapse of the late 2000s in its rear-view mirror. Led by rapid growth in construction jobs, South Florida is on track to further rebuild its employment base in 2015, expert observers say. “We should do well in 2015,” said J. Antonio Villamil, founder and principal of the Washington Economics Group in Coral Gables. “We have a good business climate, low interest rates and low oil prices, so we’re coming into the new calendar year with a bang. … Construction, retail and anything to do with the visitor industry should do well.” Villamil said employment in South Florida is growing across multiple industries: “It’s more diverse than just a boom in one sector. South Florida is finishing the year  with all the cylinders running at a high rate.”
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NeoSystems Corp. Establishes Operations Center In Orange County, Florida
NeoSystems Corp., a professional services and technology company specializing in business process outsourcing of accounting/finance, HR, and IT operations, will establish an operations center in Orange County, Florida, making a $424,000 capital investment and creating more than 37 jobs over the next three years.
Enterprise Florida President/CEO Gray Swoope said, “Florida’s IT industry continues to grow and companies like NeoSystems are important to that growth. Their new location in Orlando will add important value to the region and this expanding sector. More and more, high-tech specialty companies are choosing Florida for their next location because of the state’s top workforce, infrastructure and strong partnerships.”
“We’re pleased to add NeoSystems’ to the growing list of companies who are selecting Orlando for their new location as their business grows,” said Rick Weddle, President/CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. “This expansion highlights the phenomenal growth we’ve seen in advanced business services which I hope continues to see significant gains in 2015.” Orange County, Valencia College, Enterprise Florida and the Orlando Economic Development Commission collaborated on this project.
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BluePearl Veterinary Partners Invests $1 Million To Expand Tampa, Florida, Headquarters
BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a national leader in veterinary medicine, plans to expand its headquarters, with the construction of a 4,800 square foot building for its support services team, at 3000 Busch Lake Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. The company is investing $1 million in the project, with plans to double its workforce and add 50 additional associates within three years.
“BluePearl Veterinary Partners has been a valuable member of our community for nearly two decades, providing exceptional care for the beloved pets of thousands of people in Hillsborough County and beyond,” said Sandra Murman, Chair of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. “We’re committed to promoting the growth of outstanding local headquarter companies like BluePearl and will do all we can to support their continued success.”
“The expansion of BluePearl highlights the support and resources that our local partners are providing to help existing businesses stay here, prosper, and build an exciting future for their companies, their employees, and Hillsborough County,” said Rick Homans, President/CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
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Santa Rosa Industrial Parks Gain Certification
Two industrial parks in Santa Rosa County, the Northwest Florida Industrial Park @ I10 and 160 acres of the Santa Rosa County Industrial Park on Jeff Ates Road, have joined the ranks of certified industrial parks and sites in Florida. Santa Rosa began the three-phase intensive process used to certify sites through Gulf Power’s “Florida First Sites” certification program in the spring of 2013. There are only four certified industrial parks or sites in Florida, one in Jacksonville, one in Bay County and two in Santa Rosa County.
Santa Rosa County Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree emphasizes the importance of the certification process. “Having land which is certified is extremely important to organizations looking to relocate, expand or begin operations as the due diligence they require to select a site is already completed for them,” Ogletree said. “The certified information helps to expedite a decision to locate in our county and can be an important factor in opening their doors faster, creating vital cost savings for a company. Certified sites are one more tool to make Santa Rosa more attractive in an extremely competitive economic development market.”
In 2013, 14 sites from public and private landowners were initially accepted into Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites program aimed at helping communities prepare locations to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. Of those 14 sites, 10 are still working to complete the certification process. Three have been certified and seven are still working toward their certification. The remaining sites are expected to be certified by the end of February.
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Lee, Collier Economy to Boom in 2015
Two segments of Southwest Florida are expected to be among the leaders in growth in 2015, according to a state economic preview released Tuesday. The Naples-Marco Island area is expected to see 4.7 percent growth — tops in the state — while the Cape Coral-Fort Myers market is projected to see 4.3 percent growth, good for fourth in the state, according to Florida TaxWatch.
The preview also examines regional employment markets in Metropolitican Statistical Areas, or MSAs. What’s classified as the Cape Coral MSA, which encompasses Lee County, is expected to have the best employment market in the first quarter in comparison to 99 other MSAs across the nation. That growth is attributed to construction projects and real estate. Florida’s economy will grow faster than the nation and Florida employment is expected to outpace the nation again this year, according to the analysis.
“Florida had a very successful year in 2014, as shown by our state’s latest revenue increases and jobs numbers, and Florida’s economy and job growth should keep climbing in 2015,” said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute.
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