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Friday's Daily Pulse

Florida jobless claims edge up

First-time unemployment claims in Florida increased slightly last week, but the pace of filings remains relatively low. Over the past four weeks, the state has averaged 5,426 new claims a week. That is the lowest four-week pace since the state averaged 4,954 claims a week between May 14 and June 4. The new numbers, however, come as state economists have warned Florida’s real-estate market could slow as mortgage rates rise and housing-affordability issues increase. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Business BeatBusiness Beat - Week of September 23rd

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NHC says hurricane likely in Caribbean, but too early to predict Florida danger

As Hurricane Fiona plows north and Tropical Storm Gaston meanders in the Atlantic, a system now in the Caribbean has the attention of long-term forecasts that could bring it close to Florida by next week. The National Hurricane Center continues to issue advisories on the two named storms including strong Category 4 Hurricane Fiona that could be a threat to Bermuda, but it also is keeping odds on three systems that could become the next tropical depression or storm. More from the  Orlando Sentineland the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida firm bankrolls drive to legalize recreational marijuana

Florida-based Trulieve, one of the nation’s largest medical marijuana companies, has kickstarted a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in the Sunshine State. The company has contributed $10 million to date to the Smart & Safe Florida campaign to get a constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot, and so far is its sole contributor. The organization already has spent $6.5 million to start collecting the nearly 900,000 signatures needed to bring the citizen initiative to a vote. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

South Florida cruise industry "cruising" along post pandemic

During the height of the pandemic and months afterward, the cruise industry took a major hit. Most cruise lines lost billions of dollars after ships were docked for months and travel halted. "You went from an industry that was thriving to one that shut down completely," said Port Everglades Director Jonathan Daniels. Daniels said the pandemic was devastating for the port for a very, very long time. Flash forward to 2022 which has been a pivotal year for cruising to get back on track as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has loosened restrictions. [Source: CBS News]


› ‘Neither normal nor sustainable.’ South Florida home prices finally fall, but key issue remains
Housing prices fell again last month in Miami-Dade County and dipped for the first time in months in neighboring Broward County, an uplifting sign for aspiring home buyers. Miami-Dade’s median sale price dwindled to $551,250 for a single-family home in August, down from $570,000 the prior month, according to the monthly sales report released Wednesday by the Miami Association of Realtors.

› Florida tech company Tomahawk scores Marines robotics contract
A growing robotics startup snagged a $6.5 million U.S. Marine Corps deal that'll keep it busy through 2024. As part of the Marines contract, Tomahawk Robotics Inc. will make robotic systems safer and easier to control for the Marines, the company announced this month. Meanwhile, the 53-person company expects to hire more than 20 people by the end of 2023, Tomahawk Proposal Manager Tom Kennedy told Orlando Inno via email.

› Electric vehicle subscription service arrives in Tampa Bay region
Facedrive Inc., a tech company headquartered in Toronto, has brought its Steer EV electric vehicle subscription service to Tampa. In a news release, the firm says Steer EV challenges the traditional car-ownership model and capitalizes on the growing public appetite for environmentally friendly modes of transportation that provide flexible, pay-per-use options, such as the electric scooters that have been adopted by cities across the country.

› Orange County sales tax increase could bring new money to cities. Here’s how they would use it
Cities have big plans for their cut of a proposed one-cent increase to the sales tax, expected to rake in nearly $600 million annually with municipalities promised a 10% share. With it, they collectively have about $1.8 billion in plans to widen some roads and shrink others, of connecting trails for those on bikes and on foot and using new technologies to make traffic flow better throughout the region, according to project lists they submitted to the county. Much of that work is slated for Orlando, costing about $1.2 billion over a 20-year period.

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› National logistics company leases almost 350,000 square feet of industrial space in Lakeland
Link Logistics Real Estate, a New York warehouse company that operates a portfolio of last-mile logistics properties, has leased 349,929 square feet of space at a Lakeland industrial park. The company leased Building 300 at the Key Logistics Center about a mile from Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando.

› Original vision of Triple Give Group’s American Dream Mall awakens
Canadian developer Triple Five Group, whose American Dream Mall is to rise in Northwest Miami-Dade, is still working on the design for a site plan application to deliver to the county in December, returning to its original concept after considering major changes last year. Over the past year, the developer has been meeting with staff from the county Department of Transportation and Public Works, the county Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and the Florida Department of Transportation to work on the site plan, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, land use attorney representing the group, told Miami Today.

› Cenntro's Jacksonville electric vehicle plant progressing slowly
Cenntro Electric Group Ltd.’s progress in opening an electric vehicle plant in Jacksonville is going slower than it planned five months ago. The New Jersey-based company’s annual report in April said it expected to begin trial assembly operations at its Jacksonville facility by the end of the second quarter. However, its midyear report released Sept. 13 said it expects those operations to begin by the end of 2022.

› University of Tampa rolls out series of programs for entrepreneurs
The University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center has launched the Startup Studio, a new resource for practicing and aspiring entrepreneurs. According to a news release, Startup Studio programming will focus on personal growth, skill development and transformation of founders as well as companies. The first session, “Ideation: Exploration and Concept Formation,” is set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7 and will be facilitated by Alex Bruton, a Canadian educator and entrepreneur.