California posted strong job gains in October, as the Golden State’s economic engine pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.9% from 5.1% a month earlier.
In all, the state added 31,700 net new jobs last month, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department.
The report marked the first time since March that employers added jobs in consecutive months, boosting confidence in an economy that has slowed somewhat from last year.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s ridership has been falling steadily since 2014, losing on average 69,000 daily riders each month. The most recent 12 months of data show a decrease of more than 10% compared with the same period three years ago, and Metro’s current “annual boardings” — just under 400 million — represent a drop of almost 20% from the system’s 1985 peak, even though the county’s population has increased by nearly a fifth since then.
It wouldn’t be difficult to turn these figures around, as Metro’s history shows: The transportation authority should stop focusing primarily on building new rail and use a fair share of its voter-supplied wealth to lower fares and improve the bus system.
Industries regulated under California’s cap-and-trade program reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5% in 2016, according to new data released by state officials. Richard Corey, executive director of the California Air Resources Board, said the numbers show the state is on track to meet its emission-reduction targets in 2020 and 2030.
Port officials said the plan seeks to accelerate pollution reductions while remaining sensitive to the economic effects of transforming the complex, which handles about 40% of U.S. imports and support hundreds of thousands of jobs across Southern California. Though the volume of shipments moving through the L.A.-Long Beach ports has tripled since the mid-1990s, they face increasing competition from East and Gulf Coast ports, which have less stringent environmental mandates.
By adopting the plan, the ports are expecting businesses and taxpayers to foot the bill. They are also sending a signal to manufacturers that there will be demand for cleaner trucks and freight-moving equipment, and, eventually, models with no tailpipe emissions.
California no longer should give specific tax incentives to businesses and instead should provide broad-based tax relief, the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said in a new report.
The analyst's office examined California Competes, a program that began four years ago to give tax credits to businesses looking to move to the state or remain here, and found it puts existing companies that don't receive the awards at a disadvantage without clear benefits to the overall economy.
"Picking winners and losers inevitably leads to problems. In the case of California Competes, we are struck by how awarding benefits to a select group of businesses harms their competitors in California," the report said. "We also think the resources consumed by the program are not as focused as they should be on winning economic development competitions with other states to attract major employers that sell to customers around the country and the world."