By Cecil G. Brumley
For Hometown News
Volusia County's employment report for June looked like a "spaghetti western" - good, bad and ugly.
The good is the number of Volusia workers employed is up by about 2,700 from June 2011. The bad is there are still about 23,000 county workers unemployed. The ugly is the non-agricultural jobs report that shows the number of jobs in Volusia is down 1,300 from last year.
Obviously, most of the jobs Volusia workers are finding are outside the county. Fortunately the big metro areas of Jacksonville and Orlando are adding jobs. Orlando, which includes Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, was up 9,800 jobs in June from a year ago. Jacksonville, which includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, was up 3,200 jobs.
There is some hope for Volusia with manufacturing jobs up 100 from last year. Construction jobs were still down 400 jobs, but with home building continuing to pick up that is bound to change. Retail, which was down 700 jobs from last year, probably will remain down until some big stores open. So far, the only one in sight is the BJ's Wholesale in Port Orange, though. The professional and business services sector, which was down 900 jobs, will continue to be a problem area until there is significant improvement in the economy.
Another bank is joining Chase Bank and PNC Bank in expanding in Volusia County. Chase recently opened its Port Orange branch at 3825 S. Nova Road and earlier this year opened in Ormond Beach. It also has plans to open an office in New Smyrna Beach. It already had offices in DeLand and Orange City. PNC Bank recently opened a new office at 1661 Taylor Road in Port Orange. It also picked up some new offices in acquiring RBC Bank.
Now Tavares-based Reunion Bank is getting in on the action, expanding its Port Orange office by 2,000 square feet. While Reunion Bank, or builder Sun Glow Construction, would respond to requests for comment, it's a good guess that Reunion is planning a big new office at 785 W. Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach. In its summer newsletter, Reunion said it would be adding an Ormond Beach office. Sun Glow, which is doing the Port Orange work for Reunion, has submitted plans to the city of Ormond Beach for a two-story bank building.
Daytona Beach-based Brown & Brown Inc. reported another successful quarter, generating revenue of $290.9 million, up 17.9 percent from $246.8 million in the second quarter of 2011. The insurance brokerage network's net income was at $42.5 million, up 11.5 percent from $37.04 million last year. Yet, it didn't meet analysts' expectations. The company earned 29 cents per share of its stock, but the consensus of analysts who follow the company expected 31 cents per share. The company is on track to stay above $1 billion in revenue this year, but is a long way from its new goal of $2 billion in revenue.
The other public company based in Volusia - Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. - also reported a successful quarter financially. The Daytona Beach company's revenue for the second quarter was $4.8 million, up 30 percent from $3.7 million in the second quarter of 2011. Net income was at $599,600, up from $318,800 last year.
After two or three months of little or no gains, Daytona Beach International Airport saw a 12 percent increase in passenger traffic in June at 49,860, compared to 44,687 in June 2011.
Builders are starting to go a little farther out on a limb, building more speculative housing. Henin Homes of Maitland is building a spec house at Rivera Bella in DeBary with 1,928 square feet of living space and priced at $218,900. Also there, the company is building a model home called the Turino that has 3,369 square feet of living space and is priced from $329,900. At Halifax Plantation in Ormond Beach, Vanacore Construction is starting to build a spec house at 3242 Tralee Drive.
On the restaurant beat, Tommy Johns Grill has opened at 1064 Ocean Shore Blvd. in Ormond-by-the-Sea. Now I know what you're thinking, but no, it's not named after the baseball player. The owner is John Georgopoulos and his father's name is Tommy and his son's name is Tommy. It's largely a Chicago-style restaurant with lots of hot dogs, sausage and beef, but also serves plenty of other items. On the other end of the dining spectrum, here's one I missed. Blau, a Mediterranean grill, has opened at 175 S. Nova Road in Ormond Beach. It serves a unique menu of fine cuisine. Blau is located in the space that was used for a Tijuana Flats, probably one of the few failures of the Orlando-based chain.
Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking Volusia County business news and trends for more than 15 years. He can be reached at Cecilbrumley@ymail.com