The Sunshine Economy

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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

The Sunshine Economy: Haiti, Help And Hurricane Matthew

Oct 24, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety

Drive down on Lucy Street in Homestead, take a right at a school painted pink, then a left at the stop sign and you will find yourself surrounded by Haitians in a horseshoe-shaped apartment complex. They've come to Homestead, most of them from Southern Haiti, the same mountainous peninsula that was hit by Hurricane Matthew Oct. 4.

Tom Hudson

Through all the tawdry talk, accusations and innuendo during this election American voters have been consistent in saying the economy is their big issue.


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which includes South Florida in its territory, quizzed 200 companies throughout the region. One out of three of them said the election was having an effect on their business decisions such as investing in their companies or hiring new workers.



Floridians are anxious. Even after several years of job growth, most are worried about the economy. Two out of three Floridians say they are financially stressed. For those with a child at home, or living in South Florida, odds are even higher.

Teresa Frontado

There is no Election Day. Between mail-in ballots, early voting and the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, Florida voters have almost a month to make their decisions and cast their ballots.

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?

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