Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida jobless rate dips to 3.2 percent
Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.2 percent in March, as workers shift away from gigs at hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues for higher-paying jobs in manufacturing, warehousing and logistics. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released a report Friday that said the March jobless rate was down from 3.3 percent in February. Continued decreases in the rate come despite employers reportedly struggling to retain workers. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida adds 15,678 COVID cases in past week as infections rise
Florida’s COVID-19 infections and positivity rate are on the rise again across the state, and the highly contagious omicron BA.2 variant may be to blame. The variant now accounts for 80 percent of cases in the southeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts don’t expect another omicron wave, but the immunocompromised and unvaccinated are still vulnerable to severe illness and death. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Here’s what Florida’s lawmakers didn’t do: notable failed bills
In the House and Senate, lawmakers proposed 3,685 pieces of legislation, but only about 285 passed in both chambers, slightly higher than the number since at least 2016, according to legislative records. Lawmakers passed a $112 billion state budget, as the session ended after votes on controversial legislation aimed at cultural issues unsettled between conservatives and progressives. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Sarasota researcher predicts 22 named storms, 5 major hurricanes in 2022
Warm water acts as “rocket fuel” for hurricanes and water off the Florida coast is as much as four degrees warmer than average this April. Off Florida’s east coast, water temperatures are already warm enough to sustain tropical systems — a month and a half before the season’s official June 1 start date. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
NASA to roll Artemis I moon rocket back from launch pad as it delays test
NASA tried three times to get through its launch pad dress rehearsal for the Artemis I moon rocket at Kennedy Space Center, but it’s not hanging around for the fourth. Instead, mission managers announced that they were rolling the massive Space Launch System rocket topped with the Orion capsule on its mobile launcher back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida Keys celebrate 40th anniversary of Conch Republic
The 40th anniversary celebration of the Florida Keys’ symbolic secession from the United States, motivated by a 1982 U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint established on the only road connecting the Keys with mainland Florida, has begun in Key West. The 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration kicked off Friday with a waterfront ceremony at the island city’s Mallory Square.
› Orlando-area small businesses brace for rent surge
As inflation numbers hit a 40-year high across the nation, rental rates for industrial and warehouse spaces were climbing faster in the Orlando metro area than other parts of the country. Tom Whisner, who owns Apogee Productions in Longwood, said the pandemic crippled his concert and event business. “We had ramped up to where our big thing was doing touring and arena shows. That is what they just totally cut,” he said.
› Florida targets school math textbooks over critical race theory objections
The Florida Department of Education on Friday said the state will not include dozens of math textbooks in a list used by school districts to buy books for classrooms because their content included references to critical race theory and other “prohibited topics” and “unsolicited strategies.” The announcement was made in a press release titled “Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students.” It did not include the names of any of the books or provide specific examples of the content that prompted their objections.
› Miami business, community leaders plan celebration of life for Beacon Council’s Finney
The life and career of Michael A. Finney, who served five years as CEO of Miami-Dade County’s Beacon Council, will be celebrated in an invitation-only three-hour event later this month at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. Finney, 65, died at Mercy Hospital after having a heart attack at his Coconut Grove home on April 3.
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