California’s slowing economic expansion was evident in August as the state lost 8,200 net jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 5.1%, from 4.8% a month earlier, according to data released Friday from the state’s Employment Development Department. The drop in employment follows a robust July in which the Golden State gained the most jobs in more than a year: 84,500, revised up from a previous estimate of 82,600. August’s slide back was in large part driven by employers in the leisure and hospitality sector: They cut 12,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis — the largest decrease by any sector in the state. Professional and business services and the public sector also lost jobs. Manufacturing and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, meanwhile, gained jobs.
So, yes, California remains a capital for innovation, but only until all the union work rules crush that one bright spot in the economy. Meanwhile, the rest of the state is becoming something of an innovation-free zone, given lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to saddle businesses with bone-crushing regulations and tax rates. If Brown really believes in innovation, he ought to worry less about federal funding and more about the way his union allies mess with the Golden State’s economy.
The major components of a legislative package aimed at addressing California’s housing affordability crisis cleared their biggest hurdle late Thursday night when the Assembly passed six bills in a tight vote. Legislative leaders had previously negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown over measures to generate money for low-income housing development, fund housing programs and streamline the approval process for new projects. But Democrats in swing districts hesitated for weeks to pass one funding bill that could be described as another tax hike, after earlier this year raising the gas tax and renewing a climate change program that could also increase prices at the pump.
The technology hub of San Francisco surpassed the nation’s capital last year as the highest-earning large U.S. metropolitan area. Median household income in the San Francisco metro area in 2016 was $96,667, just ahead of the $95,843 figure for the Washington region, the Census Bureau announced Thursday. That put the California hotspot in first place among the 25 most populous metro areas, with the capital falling to the No. 2 slot. The median income for the San Francisco area, including nearby cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, has surged in recent years amid a tech-sector boom and jumped 9.2% in 2016. Incomes in the Washington area, including parts of Maryland and northern Virginia, rose a more modest 2.7% from 2015.
Median household income in America was $59,039 last year, surpassing the previous high of $58,655 set in 1999, the Census Bureau said. The figure is adjusted for inflation and is one of the most closely watched indicators of how the middle class is faring financially, as the Census surveys nearly 100,000 homes. The Census said the uptick in earnings occurred because so many people found full-time jobs — or better-paying jobs — last year. America's poverty rate also fell to 12.7 percent, the lowest since 2007, the year before the financial crisis hit. The percent of Americans without health insurance for the entire year also dropped in 2016 to just 8.8 percent, largely thanks to expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act.