Volume 8 l February 2020

Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112
Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

3/5 - 14th Annual Business Expo / After Hours - 4:30p - 7:00p      
3/31 - Coffee An' Networking at Keiser University - 7:30a - 9:30a     
A Big Day for Pinellas Technical College!
Area high school students take part in the 4 th annual “National Signing Day” ceremony last week at the Pinellas Technical College Clearwater Campus. They signed a letter of intent to enroll in a career technical training program at the school. The unique event and celebration gives high school seniors a chance to reserve a program spot and to connect with future employers. The National Letter of Intent Signing Day event was modeled after the NCAA collegiate athletic signing celebrations and is designed to promote CTE programs on campuses throughout the U.S.
U.S. January Net Job Gain: 225,000  
The Department of Labor’s latest employment report exceeded expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 165,000 net new hires last month. The main jobless rate ticked north to 3.6%; the U-6 rate including the underemployed rose 0.2% to 6.9%. This upside surprise points to ongoing strength in the economy.
A Manufacturing Positive
The U.S. factory sector grew last month, for the first time since July. The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector, which traders view as a fundamental economic indicator, came in at 50.9 in January. Any reading above 50 indicates sector expansion.
Tech Data shareholders approve $6 billion sale to Apollo Global Management
Tech Data shareholders on Wednesday voted to sell the company to Apollo Global Management for $6 billion. “When do we get the money?” stockholder Phyllis Minton asked at the close of the meeting. The answer is not right away, as the merger is expected to close in the first half of this year. More from the  Tampa Bay Times
A Tasty Happy Hour!
Not only was the Chamber B2B Happy Hour at Slyce Pizza Bar great for networking, it was delicious too. Thank you to Slyce for hosting our event and for the hospitality they provided. Thank you to everyone in attendance, we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Thank you to our event sponsors:
Largo telemarketer to close and lay off more than 100 workers
Las Vegas-based Quantum Energy Holdings plans to close its call center and offices on Ulmerton Road and lay off more than 100 employees on April 10. “The reason for the closure is strategic business alignment,” Quantum vice president for corporate affairs Laura Zepeda wrote in a layoff notice to the city of Largo and state of Florida. More from the  Tampa Bay Times .
Florida loses appeals court ruling on felon voting law
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida cannot, for now, bar felons who served their time from registering to vote simply because they have failed to pay all fines and fees stemming from their cases, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
               A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tallahassee federal judge’s preliminary injunction that a state law implementing Amendment 4 amounted to an unfair poll tax that would disenfranchise many of the released felons.
               “We disagree with the ruling,” said Helen Ferre, chief spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Ron
DeSantis. She said the state would immediately ask the entire 11th Circuit to reconsider.
Mixed forecast for Florida citrus
Grapefruit continues to outperform its early season forecast, while the outlook for Florida’s orange crop dropped, according to an update on the 2019-2020 growing season released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida remains the top grower of oranges in the nation, trailed by California, which is projected to fill 49 million boxes this season. More from  WJXT  and  Fruitnet .
AutoNation focuses on used cars as new cars are priced out of reach
As new car prices increase faster than consumers’ paychecks, the nation’s auto dealers are finding they can make more money focusing on used car sales. Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation announced Tuesday that it would continue to shift its corporate strategy toward selling, financing and servicing used cars as new-car sales continue to decline. More from the  South Florida Sun-Sentinel .
Vacation home rentals boost Florida’s economy by $27+ billion annually
Florida’s vacation lodging industry – condos and Airbnbs as opposed to traditional hotels and resorts – injects more than $27 billion into the state’s economy annually, according to a new report by the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. According to the report, Florida’s vacation home rental industry brings in $16.6 billion annually in direct spending and another $10.8 billion annually in indirect spending, which in turn supports an estimated 115,000 jobs. See the  report from UCF   and read more at  World Property Journal   and  Miami Agent Magazine .
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
            Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
            Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
            Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
            Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
            Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
Reserve your space now!

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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz