Breakfast Bites: Florida manufacturing growth leads nation; citrus, tourism post notable drops; plus more…

by | Aug 7, 2023



Easily digested news nuggets to start your week off right…


Sunshine State leads national manufacturing rebound

Florida has experienced significant growth in manufacturing jobs since 2021, ranking third in the country in total manufacturing jobs added, but tied for first with Texas in terms of percentage increase in the same span. Over the time frame of two years, the state added around 37,000 manufacturing jobs, amounting to a 10% increase. California posted the second most total jobs behind Texas, but that was only a 6 percent increase, good enough for 8th place nationally. Notably, the manufacturing boom has been seen across the South and Mountain West, an achievement President Joe Biden seeks to credit in his re-election campaign. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican nominee challenging Biden, has also claimed responsibility for the employment growth, attributing it to the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The Tampa metropolitan area has witnessed its own surge in manufacturing jobs, growing by 10% locally in the last five years. The area’s strategic location, deep-water sea port, and access to the Interstate 4 corridor have been vital contributors to this growth, along with the availability of education and training programs generating a skilled workforce. With each manufacturing job, additional opportunities for employment arise, making it a crucial pillar of the economy. Additionally, these jobs offer competitive wages, with the average salary in the Tampa Bay area at around $73,000. [Source: Axios]

Florida heat deaths surge 88% in three years

According to the National Conference of Citizenship’s (NCoC) Pandemic to Prosperity report in July, heat-related deaths in Florida have surged by 88% over the past three years, with minority groups being the most affected. The highest number of heat-related deaths was recorded in 2022, reaching 1,713, with American Indians experiencing the highest impact at 2.5 and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Black Americans were the next most-affected group with 0.6 deaths per 100,000 people. The NCoC compiled the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database, and this alarming trend comes amid record-breaking temperatures and a unique ocean heatwave in Florida, with temperatures rising five degrees above normal, reaching triple digits. [Source: Pensacola News Journal]

Fort Myers citrus company posts 51% drop in harvest thanks to Ian

Alico, Inc., a major Florida citrus grower, experienced a significant 51% decrease in its harvest during the 2022-2023 citrus season, following the impact of Hurricane Ian on the industry. Despite the decline, the company fared better than Florida’s overall citrus industry, which suffered its worst season in almost a century. Alico has received crop-insurance money and is closely monitoring discussions in Washington, D.C., regarding the allocation of disaster-relief funds for hurricane damage. [Source: WUSF]

Tourism downtick hits Central Florida

Tourist development tax collections in Orange County experienced a year-over-year decline for another month after reaching a peak in March. In June 2023, the county collected $30,028,300, down 7.3% compared to June 2022. The tax, levied on accommodations like hotels and vacation rentals, is used to fund tourism-related facilities and advertising. While tourism tax collections had been increasing consistently as the industry rebounded from the pandemic, factors like summer heat and competition from other destinations led to the drop in revenue. Despite a 4.3% decrease in hotel occupancy to 74%, the area saw record attendance at events like the AAU Volleyball Championships in the Orange County Convention Center. Visit Florida anticipates a 3% growth in lodging demand for the area in 2023. [Source: ClickOrlando.com]

State pushes back against effort to stop paycheck protection bill

The state of Florida is defending a new law that prohibits the deduction of union dues from workers’ paychecks, despite opposition from teachers unions. The law, passed earlier this year, imposed additional restrictions on public-employee unions, leading the unions representing school employees and university faculty members to file a federal lawsuit against its constitutionality. The unions sought a preliminary injunction to block the dues-deduction ban, arguing that it violates existing contracts. However, attorneys for the state contend that union contracts can be subject to changes in state laws and that the law serves a legitimate public purpose of increasing transparency and informing public employees about their dues. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker previously declined to issue an injunction, but the unions have revised their lawsuit and injunction request.

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