California Democrats have finally found a cause that’s worth suspending their environmental passions. The United Automobile Workers are struggling for a presence in Tesla’s Fremont plant, and organized labor has called in a political favor.
Since 2010 California has offered a $2,500 rebate to encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles. But last week, at unions’ behest, Democrats introduced an amendment to cap-and-trade spending legislation that would require participating manufacturers to get a sign-off from the state labor secretary verifying that they are “fair and responsible in their treatment of workers.”
Charles Schwab is emblematic. Since announcing its relocation strategy in early 2013, the company has shrunk its San Francisco headquarters to fewer than 1,300 people, a 45% decrease. Its 47-acre campus south of Denver is now Schwab’s largest office, employing almost 4,000 people. An expanded office in Austin, Texas, will be completed next year, and construction is under way on a new location near Dallas.
. . . While the finance industry has been relocating entry-level jobs since the late 1980s, today’s moves are claiming higher-paid jobs in human resources, compliance and asset management, chipping away at New York City’s middle class, said Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit that represents the city’s business leadership.
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.
U.S. incomes rose and the poverty rate fell last year, according to the Census Bureau’s annual report on economic well-being. The authoritative survey showed continuing progress since the 2007-09 recession. By some measures, however, Americans haven’t returned to levels of prosperity achieved nearly two decades ago.
The gap between the median income women and men make in the U.S. narrowed significantly for the first time since the recession. Men ages 15 and older employed full-time brought in a median income of $51,640 in 2016 for year-round work, compared with the $41,554 median income women made, adjusted for inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. This pushes the widely cited female-to-male earnings measure to 80.5%—or 81 cents for every dollar a man makes—up 0.9 percentage point from 79.6% in 2015. Median income for men declined in 2016 after years of sluggish or no growth, while women’s median pay increased slightly, boosting the earnings measure higher.