The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

Ways to Connect

From the U.S. Supreme Court case against the Affordable Care Act to trying to keep insurance exchange navigators from public health facilities, the state of Florida has resisted assisting the federal government in implementing the health insurance reform law.

Freedigitalphotos.net

The Affordable Care Act's open enrollment which began October 1 is focused on individuals but its impact likely will be felt even if you get your insurance through your employer, or though your spouse's work.

Most Americans with private health insurance (not Medicare, Medicaid or veterans benefits) get their insurance through their job or their husband's or wife's company. Even as more people may sign up for health insurance coverage, the prices for that coverage are expected to keep rising. 

The Sunshine Economy: Meet The Invincibles

Oct 1, 2013
Tom Hudson

The invincibles is a catch-all description of young adults, generally healthy, but who are living without health insurance.

This group is one of the particular targets of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, taking effect on January 1, 2014. By requiring most Americans to have health insurance, the strategy is to attract young and healthy people to help spread the risk of insuring older and sicker people.

Tom Hudson

These are the faces of the uninsured in South Florida. Eddie Escobar, Kwami Livingston and Jersey Garcia (left to right) are three of the more than one million people under the age of 65 in the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward who are living without health insurance.

Beginning Tuesday, they will be able to shop for health coverage and possibly qualify for a tax credit in order to meet the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which goes into effect next year.

Freedigitalphotos.net

A top hospital CEO promises to say how much his hospital gets paid for procedures. The top hurricane insurance boss warns about his firm’s ability to pay.

Tom Hudson

Modern society has separated many of us from our food source. Sure, there are local field-to-table efforts and farmer’s markets, but it’s awful hard to know where all your food comes from.

Jeff Onsted / FIU

Two pieces of land in real estate development-hungry South Florida. They are less than two miles apart but more than 10-times the difference in assessed values (see photo above).

The reason: the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) in Miami-Dade County.

Jay Pellis

Jay Pellis is among the thousands of South Floridians who are underemployed. After 18 months of being counted among the unemployed, that's improvement. This week, Pellis began a part-time job teaching GED classes to teenagers and young adults leaving the foster care system. It is the type of work he's done before.

Tom Hudson

Odds are Ian Kramer should be working. He has a MBA from USC. He has experience in the cut throat  world of Miami real estate development. The unemployment rate for someone with his education is half that of the overall level. And real estate is rebounding with several residential high rises sprouting from once dormant stretches of land.

freedigitalphotos.net

Half of the paychecks of Floridians are smaller today than they were in 2004. Thanks to a wicked combination of fewer working hours and the financial erosion of inflation, the median hourly wage in Florida is $0.63 less than what it was eight years ago, according to a recent study by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University.

Tom Hudson

Ian, Jay and Sal. That's them in the photo on the right. Each of them is an unemployment statistic with a story.

Tom Hudson

Jimmy Choo at Sawgrass Mills. Hermes in the Design District. Even Marky's Caviar in Miami Gardens. South Floridians are welcoming luxury retailers with open arms just like Britto's "Welcome" sculpture greets shoppers near Dadeland Station in the photo on the right.

Luxury retailing in South Florida is expanding beyond its traditional glitzy locations and stretching to include not just shoes and accessories, but also shoppers’ appetites.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Retail

Tom Hudson

One square foot is not a lot of space. You can fit a pair of shoes in one square foot. But, if you are a luxury retailer at Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour, you sell $2,800 worth of merchandise per square every year. That's six times what the average shopping center generates in the same amount space.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Retail

In the 1970’s it was water beds. In the 1980’s, Keith Koenig sold dinette sets. Now it’s couches and entertainment centers.

Koenig and his brother began what would become City Furniture in 1971. He has seen plenty of cycles in the South Florida economy, as well as how consumer tastes impact his business. Housing booms and housing busts. A growing population. And wicker. Koenig has a unique perspective at the intersection of two industries: real estate and retail. His outlook?  Very positive.

Florida public school teachers will get about $250 dollars this year to spend on classrooms supplies.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Education

Teachers have gotten an annual stipend for more than a decade, helping make up for some of the money teachers spend out of their own pockets for student supplies.

WLRN's Sunshine Economy spoke with several teachers about what they spend and why.

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