Verizon plans to hire 100 for expansion

Published February 2, 2007

Verizon is hiring 100 new sales consultants and will train more than 400 employees as fiber technicians to hook up new Internet broadband customers. The company says it passed Bright House Networks last year as the Tampa Bay area's largest broadband provider and will expand its fiber network this year to reach nearly 580,000 local homes and businesses. Candidates interested in sales jobs in downtown Tampa, which pay $10 to $16 per hour, can go to www.verizon.com/careers, search for job openings and select "US-FL Statewide."

Duda & Sons wins statewide award

A. Duda & Sons, which has its hands in all aspects of produce, sod, sugar cane, and cattle, will be honored today as the Outstanding Florida Family Business of 2007. The J.C. Newman Cigar Co. of Ybor City and the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center of St. Pete Beach will also be honored. The University of Tampa will host discussion panels in the morning, and an awards ceremony in the afternoon. Gov. Charlie Crist has christened today "Florida Family Business Day" to coincide with the awards.

Penney to add Polo Ralph Lauren

J.C. Penney Co., the third-largest U.S. department-store company, will add an exclusive line of merchandise by Polo Ralph Lauren. The American Living collection includes clothing for men, women and children, as well as home goods and accessories, J.C. Penney said Thursday. The items will be available early next year.

Toyota pulls away from Ford in sales

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its January U.S. sales rose 9.5 percent to again surpass the monthly sales of Ford Motor Co., which saw its sales drop 19 percent. DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.2 percent, compared with January 2006. Wednesday, Ford warned that it expected to post a 20 percent drop compared with January 2006 amid fewer sales to rental-car companies. General Motors Corp. said last week that it expected January sales to fall because of lower rental fleet sales.

Manufacturing takes a tumble

Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in January as factories cut production and reined in orders to trim bloated inventories. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to 49.3, the lowest since April 2003, from December's 51.4, the private industry group said Thursday. Readings less than 50 signal contraction.

Housing contracts hint worst is over

More Americans signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in December, suggesting the housing market may be stabilizing after the worst year for home sales in more than 15 years. An index of signed purchase agreements rose 4.9 percent, the first increase in four months, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The index was 4.4 percent lower than a year earlier.