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

Sheng Guo was among the first people in South Florida to experience the impact of COVID-19. He grew up near Wuhan, China, where the virus started. He lives in Weston now, but his parents and grandmother still live close to Wuhan. Guo is an economics instructor at FIU.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The new normal is here. Florida began a full phase one reopening with restaurant dining rooms, shopping malls and hotels reopening with limitations on Monday.


It’s a calculated effort balancing the need to protect public health and the demand for economic activity. How long and lasting will this new normal be? It may be a balance between infection rates and unemployment rates -- between epidemiology and economics.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Shipmonk was used to hiring people fast to fill jobs in its expanding Fort Lauderdale wareshouse. Since COVID-19 hit, the company has been telling some job applicants to show up for their first day of work without even an interview.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Pilar Guzman Zavala and Bill Feinberg own very different companies, but both have been hit by COVID-19. Dozens of employees between them have been brought back thanks to emergency borrowing programs instituted to help companies keep people employed.

AP Photo/Steve Helber

When drive-through COVID-19 testing was first offered in Broward County, one of the first was at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston. That was five weeks ago.



Stimulus payments are going out. Small businesses have applied for emergency loans.


There is more than $2 trillion the federal government has OK'd to help save the U.S. economy. And more is likely to be approved as communities debate when and how to reopen parts of the economy shut down in the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.


AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The economic consequences of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are becoming clear. A half million people in Florida have filed for unemployment in just three weeks. And that’s just the people who were captured by the government data. There are others who have been turned back by the state unemployment website and its failures.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Jack McCabe is scared. 

McCabe was one of the earliest voices warning of the housing collapse 13 years ago. He runs a real estate economic consulting firm based in Deerfield Beach that bears his name. As early as 2005, McCabe was sounding alarms of a slowing housing market in South Florida. 


Of course, It didn’t just slow — it collapsed.


courtesy: Keys News Service

Fifty percent unemployment? 

That's the guess from Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. 

Courtesy of Edgar Leal

The sounds bounced off walls in empty restaurant dining rooms and cafes.

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Some beaches have closed. Cruise ships are docked. Airlines have grounded some planes. Disney and Universal in Orlando are closed. Local attractions are shut down. Theaters are dark. Hotel reservations are cancelled. Restaurants and bars are closing early.

This business hasn’t slowed. In many cases it has stopped.


Florida’s large population of senior citizens and people without health insurance make the state vulnerable to the threat posed by an outbreak of COVID-19. The number of cases in the state remain relatively small, but it has been growing as testing for the virus has grown.

Marta Lavandier / AP Photo

Jay Foreman is no stranger to China and the global supply chain. He runs Basic Fun, based in Boca Raton. It imports toys like My Little Pony Classic and Pound Puppies from China. A dozen Basic Fun employees work in China and 65 work in Hong Kong.

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

The quiet season is about half over. The time between Nov. 30 and June 1 is usually quiet in the tropics. The six months between June and November is hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. And the last few seasons have been reminders about the threats posed to Florida.


Michelle Zambrana feels like she is chasing the Miami lifestyle, but can't quite catch it. She and her husband, Oscar Rosenberg, recently had their second child right after Rosenberg lost his job at the bank where he worked 15 years.

When Marte Marello and her husband moved to Miami only about a year ago, they came without expecting to stay long. Her family is in Italy, and she says the risk of climate change may have them move to Europe in a few years.