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Digest

Not working? Then you're not looking

By TIMES WIRES
Published November 18, 2006


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No more excuses, slackers. Florida has created 219,300 jobs over the past year - 27,200 of them in the Tampa Bay area - and employees are hungry for workers. In October, Florida's unemployment rate continued at a record low pace of 3.1 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from a month earlier. That compares with a national rate of 4.4 percent and 3 percent in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area. Where are we losing jobs? Only in manufacturing, down 2,200 positions from a year ago.

Utek's latest hire shows global vision

Utek Corp. may be small, but the latest addition to the Tampa company's board of directors is a big fish from across the ocean. Francis Maude has been a member of Parliament in the United Kingdom since 1983 and serves as chairman of the minority Conservative Party, also known as the Tories. Perhaps Maude will raise the technology-transfer firm's stature in London, which hosts Utek's second-largest office but contributed just 3.6 percent of its overall operating income last year.

Phone fee proposal raises consumer ire

Something doesn't add up here: A long-simmering plan to change the way a federal tax on long-distance calls was back on the front burner this week. But two analyses of the plan couldn't be further apart. At issue: a 9.2 percent tax called the Universal Service fee, which is tacked on to long-distance charges. The Federal Communications Commission is weighing a plan by phone companies to scrap the fee. Instead, they want to charge $1 to $2 per month per phone line, regardless if it's used for long distance. A consumer group predicts the flat fee would hurt Floridians on fixed incomes and immigrants who use prepaid phone cards.

[Last modified November 17, 2006, 23:34:57]


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