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August 24th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 27, 2020

Governor DeSantis says Florida Will Sign onto Trump’s Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Program Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that Florida would participate in the enhanced unemployment benefits program offered through an executive memorandum signed by President Trump earlier this month.  Read more here.   Florida Nursing Homes Can Have Visitors with no COVID Testing, Task Force…

August 20th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 20, 2020

State Advances Plan to Allow Restricted Visits at Nursing Homes It may have taken Mary Daniel, chief executive of a Jacksonville company, becoming a dishwasher at her husband’s memory care center, but a state panel of nursing home officials and regulators decided Wednesday to loosen restrictions on visitors at elder care centers after nearly six…

August 19th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 19, 2020

Local Chambers help during covid-19 As businesses around the Pensacola area are feeling the deepening effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, local chambers of commerce are working to provide help. Part of that assistance will take the form of the inaugural “Re-Employ EscaRosa” campaign, by the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce; FloridaWest, CareerSource EscaRosa, the Gulf…

August 18th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 18, 2020

Today is Primary Election Day in Florida You can vote today at your local precinct.  Click here to find your polling location and more information about today’s primary election.   Share Your Voice Regarding the Impacts of COVID-19 At the Florida SBDC, we understand the hardships that small businesses like yours have faced — and…

August 17th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 17, 2020

Florida’s Weekly Jobless Claims Drop the Most of any State Florida led the nation in a drop in the number of new jobless claims filed last week compared to the previous week, according to federal labor figures released Thursday. Some 55,106 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits last week, a decline of 23,180 claims from the…

August 6th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 6, 2020

Chamber Pensacola City Council Forum Tonight at 5:30 Join us this evening on Facebook or Newsradio 1620 for the Chamber’s Pensacola City Council Candidate Forum, sponsored by the Moorhead Real Estate Law Group.  Click here for more details.   Florida’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday Begins Tomorrow During the 2020 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday,…

August 4th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 4, 2020

Chamber County Commission Forum Tonight at 5:30 Join us tonight for our Virtual County Commission Forum.  We’ll hear from the candidates on the issues that are important to the business community.  You can join us on Facebook or listen live on NewsRadio 1620.  More information here.   Accelerate Your Success! Free Q&A and Networking Event…

August 3rd COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | August 3, 2020

Pensacola’s Top Healthcare Leaders Discuss Lessons Learned in Pandemic Response The presidents and CEOs of Pensacola’s three major hospitals have begun texting each other during the coronavirus pandemic to stay in touch. Like many business leaders, they’ve found it easier to pivot and adapt when they share their experience with trusted colleagues. The presidents as…

July 30th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | July 30, 2020

Take the City of Pensacola Satisfaction Survey The City of Pensacola invites all city residents to complete the Resident Satisfaction Survey by August 9,2020. Click the link here or complete the survey by phone 850-495-2666 (M-F, 8AM – 5PM).The City of Pensacola invites all city residents to complete the Resident Satisfaction Survey by August 9,2020.   Go…

July 29th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | July 30, 2020

Take the UWF Healthier and Safer Business Survey for Reopening Campus The University Of West Florida will soon be welcoming back students back to campus. As a part of their reopening effort, they would like to help promote businesses that are abiding by Centers for Disease Control and State of Florida guidelines for COVID-19.   If…

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):