economy

twitter.com/timharford

02/24/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents is with popular economist, journalist and broadcaster Tim Harford.  His book, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST sold millions internationally.

North American Bitcoin Conference Comes To Miami

Jan 27, 2014
Hillary Lindwall/WLRN

Bitcoin users from around the world attended this year's North American Bitcoin Conference this past weekend at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Moe Levin, who organized the conference, says attendance exceeded his expectations.

"I was expecting 800 people and now there are 1,200," Levin said. "It [was] a hugely successful Bitcoin conference."

Conference goers attended workshops held by Bitcoin-accepting and facilitating merchant vendors, like bitpay and 3DCart.  

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Jan. 6-10

Jan 14, 2014
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

This week's top attention-grabbing  stories include:  A proposal to add a Satanic statue in the Oklahoma Capitol, a Vero Beach company employing all-day surveillance of company smartphones and computers,  a free trolley giving locals access to Biscayne and Everglades national parks, and more.

Tom Hudson

Squeezed between South Florida's neighborhoods and the Everglades is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Tomatoes, beans and avocados all sprout from the rocky South Florida soil along with one of the largest nursery industries growing trees, shrubs and other landscaping plants.

Agriculture generates a direct $700 million dollars a year in Miami-Dade County alone. The economic impact of the plowing, growing and picking of those crops is much larger.

Brookings Institution

There are two basic realities about Cuba’s communist dictatorship that U.S. policy, and the anti-Castro hardliners that shape it, prefer to ignore. The first is that the Castro brothers will almost certainly die in power. The second is that market-oriented economic reforms, albeit tentative, are as much a part of Cuba’s landscape today as 1956 Chevrolets.

Gov. Scott's Top Business Recruiter Gets A Pay Hike

Oct 31, 2013
Rachel Morello

The outlook was largely positive as Governor Rick Scott, government officials and business leaders gathered in Coral Gables to discuss progress in boosting Florida’s economy.

The Oct. 31 gathering coincided with a board meeting of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development agency.

Gov. Scott opened the discussion by praising both the public and private sectors for contributing to recent signs of economic recovery. He cited an increased focus on education and the addition of 365,000 private sector jobs since he took office.

tampabay.com

Florida’s Senate Gaming Committee held its first public workshop recently to hear local perspectives about the future of gambling in the state as well as the potential social and economic impact expanded gaming would have on South Florida.

Early last year, state lawmakers shot down a bill to allow major casinos in South Florida. But now they’re reconsidering that decision, and possibly changing other state laws on gambling --- and that has plenty of people concerned.

In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because the food has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Some will be donated, but most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.

South Florida Food Banks Prepare For Funding Cuts

Oct 28, 2013
Gloria Lewis

Florida's food programs are bracing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that kick in Nov. 1 --- while watching warily as U.S. House and Senate conferees prepare to negotiate a federal farm bill, which could have much more far-reaching consequences for hungry Floridians.

Flickr

Last year I spoke by phone with a frustrated woman in Santiago, Cuba, who was trying to start a seamstress business. It’s the sort of small private enterprise that Cuban leader Raúl Castro claims to be encouraging as part of free-market reforms meant to salvage the island’s threadbare, communist economy. (But don’t dare say Raúl is copying China’s communist-capitalist system. That makes him mad.)

Adam Bouska via twitter.com/RepDWStweets

10/23/13 - Wednesday’s Topical Currents is with South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  She chairs the Democratic National Committee. She’s served in the U.S. House nine years and has written FOR THE NEXT GENERATION:  A Wake-Up Call to Solving Our Nation’s ProblemsWasserman Schultz’s district covers portions of Broward and Miami-Dade, including Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. She’s the mother of three, and is a breast cancer survivor. Tune in for Topical Currents Wednesday at 1pm on WLRN.    

Cuba will end the two-currency system it has used for nearly 20 years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has used either American currency or a peso that's pegged to the dollar alongside its national peso.

The monetary unification will phase out a system that has become a symbol of exclusivity and foreign wealth. Many products that are imported into the country can be bought only with the dollar-based convertible peso. But most Cubans are paid in the standard peso, which is worth just a fraction of the other currency.

When it finally came out Tuesday, the September jobs report — delayed for 18 days by the government shutdown — showed a labor market moving forward. But the pace was slow enough to prompt many economists to view it as a letdown.

Job growth "is disappointing, given that employment is still down by about 1.8 million from its peak prior to the recession," Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group, said in his analysis.

Broward County and Palm Beach’s unemployment rates are dropping faster than it is in any other major metropolitan area, according to a new federal report.

For August, the most recent month with updated federal data, the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area saw unemployment plunge to 5.8 percent from 7.7 percent a year before. according to data released Monday. Palm Beach also saw a drop of nearly two percentage points (from 9.7 percent to 8.4 percent), ending Seattle’s six-month run atop the list produced each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff

Arriving in South Florida, visitors from Spain might feel as if they’ve never left the Iberian Peninsula.

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