The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

This is the most contentious campaign season in memory, yet business goes on. Boat repairs, restaurants, banking -- you name it. Commerce continues despite the uncertainty of the election.

The economy consistently ranks as the biggest issue for most Americans. Taxes, regulations, health care, immigration even the combative tone of this election -- does the uncertainty of this election threaten to hurt or help business?

These four teenagers spent their summer with WLRN News. They each reported personal stories focused on a place: a park, a torn-down apartment building, school, etc.
Wilson Sayre

"To get out and explore more things," is how Rochnel Jean-Baptiste described her desire to eventually leave Miami after she finishes school. Jean-Baptiste was one of four teenagers who participated in WLRN's 2016 Youth Radio program.

It's the most teenage of desires -- to explore more things -- isn't it?

It has been four months since WLRN launched Pricecheck, an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs in Florida. Along with our partners WUSF in Tampa and Health News Florida and with input from our audience, we created a searchable database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies aiming to answer a single question: "How much does it cost?"

Palm Beach Post

"A critical inflection point." "Reached a crossroads." That's how a new study describes the South Florida economy. 

The Weather Channel via Florida Dept. of Finance Services

Florida and it's big insurance companies are ready for a hurricane.

That's the message from four people at the center of the financial preparedness of the state and the insurance industry serving Florida homeowners. In an exclusive interview, each of them expressed confidence that the state, the state-backed insurance provider Citizens Property Insurance, and private insurers have the financial wherewithal to withstand a major storm like Hurricane Andrew or a series of storms like the 2004-2005 seasons hitting the state.

  The Players

Tom Hudson

Over 20,000 students received their undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees this spring from South Florida colleges and universities. Not all of these new degrees will wind up being put to work in South Florida’s job market. Some will go back to school. Some will leave and some will stay. Why?

"There are very talented individuals," says FIU Business Professor Jerry Haar, "who will remain in a location or leave based upon what the opportunities are in their vocational arena as well as their quality of life."

Do They Stay or Do They Go?

Uber.com

A revolution in South Florida began in early June 2014. That revolution is due to end this week. It’s a change in how we hire and pay someone we don’t know to drive us someplace.

 

It was almost two years ago that Uber launched its service in Miami-Dade County. Uber began three weeks after competitor Lyft started it’s own app-based transportation service, but quickly came to dominate the market throughout South Florida for both riders tapping on its app and drivers signing up to drive passengers in their own cars.

 

Tom Hudson

Kyle Carriedo is not a unicorn, but he represents the dreams of South Florida's small technology industry. He is a 35 year-old software engineer who spent five years working on the iTunes team at Apple. He willingly left the gold-standard of tech to move to Miami for a start-up.

A high-skilled high-tech worker from the global high-tech capital, Silicon Valley, coming to South Florida to live and work will not move the needle on official employment statistics, but it is a symbol of Miami's hopes to establish itself as a hub for technology.

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.

 

Tom Hudson

The mix of organizations and agencies involved in the Everglades is about as complex as the ecosystem itself: the South Florida Water Management District, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, the federal departments of transportation, justice and agriculture and the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes are just some of them.

 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

It’s been 15 months since President Obama placed a phone call from the Oval Office in the White House to Havana, Cuba. He was calling Raul Castro. That conversation upturned more than a half century of American foreign policy as relations have moved from silent isolation to a presidential visit. A lot of history has been made in those short 15 months. Here's some of that history by the numbers:

 

88 • number of years since a sitting U.S. president visited Cuba

The Sunshine Economy in Cuba

Mar 21, 2016
Tom Hudson

Elizabeth Duconge says she has quadrupled her income in the past two months. She had been an art curator in Havana. Now she works at a paladar in the Vedado district here. Paladares are privately owned restaurants and some of the most visible reforms of the Cuban economy. Duconge said she makes $30 Cuban pesos a week waitressing at La Moraleja. “I didn’t have a way to support myself and my family,” she said a few hours before President Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday. “I started to work here and it changed. Now I can help my family and support myself.

Tom Hudson

Just days away from the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years, the White House announced another set of changes to American travel, trade and financial policies toward Cuba. The further easing of restrictions and the presidential trip come as three leading congressmen expect a vote before the end of the year on removing either the travel ban or the 54-year-old trade embargo.

When Florida lawmakers gathered in Tallahassee on Day 1 of the 2016 legislative session, Gov.  Rick Scott was clear with his two top priorities: $1 billion in tax cuts and $250 million for the state's economic development agency Enterprise Florida. As the final day of the regular session approaches this week, lawmakers are poised to disappoint the governor on both efforts.

Tom Hudson

Consistently, voters say the economy is one of the top issues in the race for the White House. It ranks higher than any social issue, gun rights or immigration. If Florida voters are anything like voters elsewhere, it’s the economy that is the big issue as early voting in the state's presidential preference primary begins.

Pages