Riding a wave of seasonal hiring and robust employment in multiple sectors, California’s unemployment rate fell to a record low 4.3 percent in December.
The state Employment Development Department said Friday that the jobless rate last month plunged to 4.3 percent, with a robust 52,700 jobs added to California payrolls. The statewide unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in November.
EDD said December’s unemployment rate was the lowest since it began keeping records in 1976.
The leader of Sacramento’s regional effort to recruit companies like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to locate major operations here says California has a weak competitive hand compared with other states.
. . . “What we need is a state economic development program to be able to compete for this,” Broome said of the competition for the new Apple campus. “We need more than Cal Competes to compete for business.”
Signaling trouble for nearly a dozen landmark water storage projects to help California cope with its next drought, state water officials on Thursday announced none of the proposals — including raising Contra Costa County’s Los Vaqueros Dam and building a new Santa Clara County dam near Pacheco Pass — provide the public benefits that their supporters claim, potentially putting their state funding at risk.
The Republican-backed federal tax bill flipped the tables on a never-ending question for California politicians: Will high taxes lead the state’s wealthiest residents to flee the Golden State for the comparable tax havens of Florida, Nevada and Texas?
Republicans reliably raise that alarm when Democrats advocate for tax increases, like the 2012 and 2016 ballot initiatives that levied a new income tax on very high-earning residents.
High-income taxpayers in most states also will benefit from lower marginal rates. But in California and other states with high tax burdens, the opposite will be true. With a $10,000 limit on local and state tax deductions, wealthy Californians, New Yorkers and residents of the other high-tax states will see their federal tax bills zoom upwards.
In other words, they will feel the full impact of their state and local taxes, which will no longer be subsidized by the federal government and the impact will be the heaviest in California because of its highest-in-the-nation income tax rates.
California, the state that helped birth the global boom in battery-toting electric vehicles, is trying to spark a similar transformation for utilities. And that spells trouble for power plants all across the U.S. that run on natural gas.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved an order Thursday that will require PG&E Corp., the state’s biggest utility, to change the way it supplies power when demand peaks. Instead of relying on electricity from three gas-fired plants run by Calpine Corp., PG&E will have to use batteries or other non-fossil-fuel resources to keep the lights on in the most-populated U.S. state.
The 2007 housing crisis was particularly tough on African-Americans, as well as Hispanics, extinguishing much of their already miniscule wealth. Industrial layoffs, particularly in the Midwest, made things worse.
However the rising economic tide of the past few years has started to lift more boats. The African-American unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in December, the lowest level since the government started keeping tabs in 1972. Although that’s 3.1 percentage points worse than whites, the gap is the slimmest on record. A tightening labor market since 2015 has also driven up wages of black workers, many of whom are employed in manufacturing and other historically middle and lower-wage service industries.
The official poverty rate in California, according to standards set by the U.S. Census Bureau, currently stands at 14.3%, just slightly ahead of the 12.7% national average. However, the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) is based on national cost-of-living averages, and fails to take into account the exorbitant cost of housing in the Golden State. A study conducted by United Way of California attempted to factor housing costs and produced a measure of California on a county-by-county basis. It showed some dismal findings for most Southern California counties. The problem here is simple: a cost of living more than double the national average, and mediocre income levels.
Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it's worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state's per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).
It's not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty.
As part of the California School Dashboard, the state’s new school accountability system, 1 in 4 school districts will receive assistance from county offices of education and the state to help improve the performance of groups of students who have done particularly poorly on criteria set by the state.
But an EdSource analysis found that 561 additional districts are not targeted for formal state support, despite large and persistent achievement gaps between African-American, Latino and low-income students and white and Asian students in those districts.
The 519 miles of L.A.’s freeway system. Dodger Stadium. City Hall. All built with concrete filled with rock and sand washed down from Southern California’s iconic mountain ranges.
. . . Yet thanks to a combination of materials science, cheap ocean shipping and, some argue, NIMBYism, today’s industrial concrete mixers are often filled with imported rock and sand.