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March 18th Coronavirus Update

By Todd Thomson | March 18, 2020

Our local businesses will soon feel the economic impact of the Coronavirus.  The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce wants to provide you access to the resources that are available to help your business through this time.   The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is now taking applications for short-term loans.  Daniel Harrell, attorney with…

Human Trafficking Task Force

By Sara Lefevers | March 18, 2020

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce our strategic partnership with the Circuit 1 Human Trafficking Task Force through the Chamber Foundation. In 2014, House Bill 7141, which promotes the development of identification and assessment tools to assess potential victims of human trafficking, was passed by the Florida Legislature. The bill required…

Covid – 19 Category B Public Assistance for Private Non-Profit Organizations Focus on Hospitals, Clinics, Emergency Medical Providers

By Sara Lefevers | March 18, 2020

March 17th Coronavirus Update

By Todd Thomson | March 17, 2020

I wanted to provide the latest on what’s happening with Coronavirus locally and what we at the Greater Pensacola Chamber are doing to support our local businesses. To help keep information about Coronavirus concise and easy to find, we have updated our Coronavirus Resource Page with direct links for Business Resources, Health Resources, and Community…

March 16th Coronavirus Update

By Todd Thomson | March 16, 2020

The situation surrounding the Coronavirus is rapidly evolving and we at the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce want to make sure you are taking proper steps to protect your business and family.  At this time, per the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, we are postponing all Chamber events through Friday, April 3rd.  We…

Coronavirus Information and Resources for Businesses

By Todd Thomson | March 11, 2020

At the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, we want to make sure the business community has the correct information and resources needed to understand what is happening with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Right now, there are no reported of the Coronavirus in Escambia County and we want our residents and visitors to know that Pensacola…

Chamber Honors Region’s Business, Community Leaders at 60th PACE Awards

By Todd Thomson | March 5, 2020

Area winners recognized at annual celebration The Greater Pensacola Chamber announced its 60th annual PACE Award recipients during a special one-night event at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front. Each year, the PACE Awards are presented to outstanding individuals in our area who have made significant contributions to Greater Pensacola’s economic, educational, and community progress.…

Northwest Florida Days: An Incredible Success for our Community

By Todd Thomson | February 26, 2020

Northwest Florida Days – An incredible success for our community I am so excited about the success of the inaugural Northwest Florida Days this week in Tallahassee.  Various Northwest Florida Chambers along with tourism and business leaders attended the two-day event where we were able to share Northwest Florida with Tallahassee and get the latest…

Studer Community Institute: A Great Chamber Partner

By Todd Thomson | February 19, 2020

A priority of mine is for the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce to collaborate with our community partners in an effort to support our small businesses.  The Studer Community Institute (SCI) has been a willing and eager partner of the Chamber’s since I became President last year.  This month, Rachael Gillette, Chief Leadership Development Officer…

Chamber Announces Keynote Speaker for State of Education Luncheon

By Todd Thomson | February 10, 2020

Florida Division of Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva to highlight inaugural event February 10, 2020-Today, the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce announced that Florida Department of Education Division of Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva will be the keynote speaker for the Chamber’s inaugural State of Education Luncheon. “We are honored to have Chancellor Oliva keynote…

Don Gaetz Believes the Gulf Coast Can Triumph

"But it’s not enough for Triumph and its private and public sector partners to produce thousands of new jobs if there aren’t thousands of Northwest Floridians qualified to fill them. That’s why Triumph is working with school districts and higher education institutions to reshape what is taught and how it’s taught in our schools. Triumph already is funding projects in six of our eight counties that will prepare 9,000 students to earn national industry certifications for the very jobs most needed in our region over the next decade." -Don Gaetz

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce was honored to support the University of West Florida in their appeal to Triumph to support their efforts to equip over 3,000 students to earn top-level certifications in cyber security and advanced manufacturing and supply chain logistics industry certifications. Through the Center for Cybersecurity, the Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering UWF proposes to produce a minimum of 3,220 industry certifications that would provide career pathways to high paying jobs across the region.

Read more here...

Department Of Labor Issues Final Ruling on Overtime

Conversations begin in the Florida House Regarding Teacher pay increases

Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum salary threshold established by the Department of Labor for overtime eligibility will be set at $684 per week / $35, 568 annually.

More information about the final rule is available here..

Florida House’s committee on preK-12 education budgeting has begun conversations around the Governor's proposed salary increase for teachers of $47,500 - a total price tag of $603 million, annually. The committee is moving forward with caution, as raising taxes does not seem to be a viable option, however, they are hopeful they can find the funds in existing budgets.

Read more here...


The Board of Education prioritized its Public Education Capital Outlay plan, unanimously approving seven projects that are now in line to receive a combined $86.4 million in construction funding over the next three years - Pensacola state college made that list.

The Board of Education prioritized its Public Education Capital Outlay plan on Friday, September 20th, unanimously approving seven projects  which are in line to receive a combined $86.4 million in construction funding over the next three years.

Read more here...



Recent Progress in the Economy:

  • There were 2.3 million more workers in 2018 than 2017!
  • Workers are earning higher wages with increases by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Poverty has declined by 0.5 percentage points to 11.8% which is 1.4 million fewer people in poverty.
  • Economic growth driven by tax reform and recent efforts of the current administration to reduce regulatory burdens are having a positive effect.

Positive outcomes from these results:

  • Workers are better able to support their families.
  • There are more available jobs; however, there are still more jobs than people, so workforce remains a major concern.

Gaps in The Economy That Must be Addressed

“The first is a skills gap – too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs. The second is a people gap – too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them. Businesses must be part of the solution. No single entity has a greater stake in the strength of our talent pool than the business community. We have the ideas, the innovations, and the incentive to drive change and create solutions.”, said U.S. Chamber CEO Donohue at the Talent Forward event earlier this year.

The Gaps

  1. Solutions for the Skills Gap
    1. Improving education and mandating increased school accountability, more choices for families, and improved collaboration among key stakeholders.
    2. Ensuring the annual $400 billion dollars of taxpayer money being invested in higher education will result into credentials and a return on investment back into the economy.
    3. The business community must ensure that local education institutions teach in-demand skills by implementing similar programs such as the Foundation Talent Pipeline Management Initiative
    4. Better access to quality childcare, as it is the foundation for basic skills and ability.
  2. Solutions for People Gap
    1. The opioid epidemic is a large contributor to the decline in working-age men in the workforce. We need to support public and private sectors working to address the issue in addition to supporting good public policy.

but fair process for the millions of undocumented people living in the U.S. to have the opportunity to earn a legal status.” This includes the “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. as children and Temporary Protected Status recipients.

  1. We must have good policy to produce good results!

Signs of Policy Uncertainty Is Negatively Affecting the Economy

“Amid all the talk of a possible recession, it’s important for everyone to remember this: Economic expansions do not die of natural causes. They often die because of missteps and policy mistakes. And the biggest mistake our leaders could make right now — putting our economy at greater risk of a downturn — is to stoke further uncertainty We’re calling on our leaders to eliminate the uncertainty, rebuild business confidence and keep this economy working for all Americans.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Donohue writes.

  1. “When leaders make decisions that foster certainty, businesses invest, hire, grow and better drive the economy in a positive direction.”
  2. Examples of the Effect of Fostering Certainty
    1. Unemployment rate has reached a generational low
    2. Employee compensation has risen 3.4% in the first half of 2019
    3. Inflammation remains near record lows
    4. Consumer spending is strong, and retail sales have beat the calculated expectations for the first half of the year.
  3. Examples of the Negative Effect from Not Fostering Certainty
    1. Increased trade tensions and softening of global economy

“The business community shares the administration’s concern over China’s trade and industrial practices, and the U.S. Chamber strongly supports efforts to secure a deal that addresses forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, data privacy and intellectual-property protection, and market access. The initial tariffs have brought China to the negotiating table, but the current path of constant escalation doesn’t increase the likelihood of a deal; it risks a recession here at home.” – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  1. Business investment has experienced its first decline in three years
  2. Manufacturing sector has been in a downturn for nine months
  3. Famers’ income has plummeted
  4. Investors have begun to panic over “inverted yield curves” in the bond market and wild swings in the stock market – typically key indicators a recession is coming.

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Commitment

We know that neither growth nor a recession are guaranteed; however, both result from choices we make as a country. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce will be calling on our leaders to eliminate as much uncertainty in the economy’s future as possible by encouraging the introducing and supporting of logical tax reform and an increase in educational and workforce development resources. Together we can close these gaps and increase the business community’s confidence in the future, both near and long.


Sean Hackbarth, A Strong Economy Improves American’s Lives,” First Things First, (September 2019):