Industry: Economy
News
Sept. 19, 2017

The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, while the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey.

Annual premiums rose 3% to $18,764 for an employer plan in 2017, from $18,142 last year, the same rate of increase as in 2016, according to an annual poll of employers performed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Health Research & Educational Trust, a nonprofit affiliated with the American Hospital Association.

News
Sept. 19, 2017

Leaders of the U.S.’s largest companies plan to ramp up hiring in the coming months, as management teams eye regulatory rollbacks and the possibility of a tax overhaul.

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook’s employment measure, which gauges chief executives’ hiring plans, rose to 80.2 in the third quarter of 2017, the highest reading in more than six years.

. . . More the half of the CEOs questioned in the second-quarter survey said they would scrap current plans for hiring and investment if Congress doesn’t change the tax code, but, during the third-quarter survey announcement, Mr. Bolten wouldn’t give specific tax rates the Business Roundtable would want to see in a bill.

News
Sept. 18, 2017

More than half of California voters say the state’s housing affordability crisis is so bad that they’ve considered moving, and 60 percent of the electorate supports rent control, according to a new statewide poll.

The findings from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies reflect broad concerns Californians have over the soaring cost of living. Amid an unprecedented housing shortage, rents have skyrocketed and tenants have faced mass evictions, especially in desirable areas.

“It’s an extremely serious problem,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo. “People are being forced to consider moving because of the rising cost of housing – that’s pretty prevalent all over the state.”

Of the 56 percent of voters who said they’ve considered moving, 1 in 4 said they’d relocate out of state if they did.

News
Sept. 18, 2017

The middle class is back — or so it seems.

That’s the message from the Census Bureau’s latest report on “Income and Poverty in the United States.” The news is mostly good. The income of the median household (the one exactly in the middle) rose to a record $59,039; the two-year increase was a strong 8.5 percent. Meanwhile, 2.5 million fewer Americans were living beneath the government’s poverty line ($24,563 for a family of four). The poverty rate fell from 13.5 percent of the population in 2015 to 12.7 percent in 2016.. . . Not all the evidence is upbeat. Here are three sobering takeaways.

First, men’s median wages for full-time, year-round work have stagnated.

. . . Second, the upper middle class is flourishing — but not the lower classes.

. . . Third, almost three-quarters of the rise of Americans living in poverty since 1990 reflects increases in Hispanic poverty — increases linked to immigration, whether legal or illegal.

News
Sept. 17, 2017

Trevor McNeil and Sarah Montoya, both 35, would love to buy a home in San Francisco, but like many young couples, they make too much money to qualify for a below-market-rate unit and too little to afford a market-rate one.

So for now, they are stuck in their one-bedroom, third-floor walk-up apartment in the Sunset District, with twin boys who were born in January and a 2-year old girl. When one is crying, it’s hard to get the others to sleep, but the hardest part is taking the kids out. Their landlady won’t allow strollers in the lobby, so they have to lug a double and a single up and down two flights of stairs or put their daughter on a leash — something Montoya thought she’d never do.

Housing is expensive for everyone in the Bay Area, but it’s especially challenging for middle-income buyers. Most new supply is at the high or low end. The gap in between is often called “the missing middle.”

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