By Cecil G. Brumley
Possibly one of the surest signs that the national economy hadn't quite fully recovered in 2012 was International Speedway Corp.'s quarterly and year-end financial report.
The Daytona Beach-based race track operator posted a slight decline in revenue and profit in its fiscal fourth quarter (ended Nov. 30) and in its fiscal 2012 revenue and profit. While its interest in a Kansas casino alters the company as an economic barometer somewhat, if its revenue and profits start growing again in 2013, it's a good sign the national economy is on firm footing.
While stock car racing has gotten a much wider audience over the years, its core is still blue collar guys who work hard during the week and want some high-speed entertainment on the weekend. When more of those blue collar guys have good jobs and can spend the big bucks a race weekend requires, you'll know we've finally put the Great Recession in our rearview mirrors.
The Volusia County economy was definitely humming along in November based on the latest sales tax collection report from the state Department of Revenue. Taxable retail sales were up 6 percent in November compared to November 2011. While the big crowd for the Turkey Run car show helped, it was mostly local folks spending. The lodging sector was just up slightly, but general merchandise (Walmart, Target, dollar stores), auto sales, apparel shops and shoe stores were all up sharply.
Passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport was up again in December - 4 percent from December 2011. It's kind of interesting how US Airways is approaching the increased demand. The airline now has five Saturday flights at DBIA, but only one flight on Monday and Tuesday. Delta Air Lines has four daily flights, but, on Feb. 14, will add a fifth flight. You can't help but think that it won't be long now until the airport gets another airline.
The commercial construction starts and big commercial real estate deals have slowed, but the permitting process continues to build toward a promising 2013. Protogroup of Palm Coast took another step forward with the Daytona Beach Planning Commission signing off on the rezoning for its two-tower mega resort. CBL & Associates is seeking an environmental resource permit from St. Johns River Water Management District for its 300-unit apartment project in Port Orange. One last interesting note is the owner of the Promenade shopping center at Nova and Beville roads in Daytona Beach wants to create three more outparcels to add to two it already has occupied. Apparently the real estate firm believes there's room for more places that need drive-through windows at that intersection.
Associate Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for 16 years. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CecilBrumley.