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Florida Economy Displayed Life in 2012 without Addition of New Casinos

December 16, 2012 - 6:00pm

The economy showed more life than it has in years, with unemployment hitting its lowest mark since December 2008.

The state continues to bulk up its ports in anticipation of global tradecontinuing to grow and the east coast will see more Far East traffic once the Panama Canal expansion is completed.

Gov. Rick Scott and Enterprise Florida reached out to Spain, England and Colombia to strengthen existing business relations and foster new ones.

Citizens Property Insurance continues to work against its own bigness.

The Republican-dominated state Legislature continued to be good partners for business lobbyists such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida as not a single new tax, higher fee, new regulation or union-backed mandate was approved.

And Disney showed its power blocking Las Vegas- and Malaysian-based casino efforts to get state legislators to expand gambling in Florida. By the end of the year, Malaysia-based Genting dropped plans to seek placing a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot to allow casinos.

For the first 11 months of the year, Enterprise Florida recorded a 23 percent increase (130 in 2011 to 160 in 2012) in competitive economic development projects, bringing 30.4 percent more jobs than in the prior year.

During the past year, Enterprise Florida and its economic development partners excelled in creating and retaining jobs for Florida families, Scott stated in a release.

Florida has had the largest drop in unemployment in the country since December 2010 and has created nearly 175,000 private-sector jobs -- and EFI has played a tremendous role in that achievement.

Key jobs announcements in 2012 include:

Digital Risk-- Orlando/Statewide --1,000 new jobs; $3 million in capital investment.

Navy Federal Credit Union-- Pensacola --700 new jobs; $6 million in capital investment.

Bi-Lo/Winn Dixie-- Jacksonville --100 new jobs, 891 retained; $81 million in capital investment.

Univision Networks-- Miami --346 new jobs; $274 million in capital investment.

Cheney Brothers Inc.-- Punta Gorda --380 new jobs, $21 million in capital investment.

Accuform Signs-- Brooksville --271 new jobs; $15 million in capital investment.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

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