Now almost all of Wal-Mart’s 4,700 U.S. stores have a Cash360 machine, making thousands of positions obsolete. Most of the employees in those positions moved into store jobs to improve service, said a Wal-Mart spokesman. More than 500 have left the company. The store accountant displaced last August is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour. “The role of service and customer-facing associates will always be there,” said Judith McKenna, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief operating officer. But, she added, “there are interesting developments in technology that mean those roles shift and change over time.” Shopping is moving online, hourly wages are rising and retail profits are shrinking—a formula that pressures retailers, ranging from Wal-Mart to Tiffany & Co., to find technology that can do the rote labor of retail workers or replace them altogether.
China-based businesses have been sinking money into various automotive operations—from glass and tire makers to technology developers and car makers—for several years, reflecting Beijing’s goal of eventually dominating the world’s car business. That effort accelerated during the first half of 2017, with eight overseas deals totaling more than $5.5 billion in Chinese investments, compared with nine investments for all of last year. The list includes the takeover of troubled Japanese air-bag maker Takata Corp. , the purchase of a U.S. flying-car developer and the acquisition of a sizable stake in Silicon Valley’s Tesla Inc. TSLA 1.43% by games and social-media company Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Recent findings show that the proportion of high school seniors graduating with an A average — that includes an A-minus or A-plus — has grown sharply over the past generation, even as average SAT scores have fallen. In 1998, it was 38.9%. By last year, it had grown to 47%. That’s right: Nearly half of America’s Class of 2016 are A students. Meanwhile, their average SAT score fell from 1,026 to 1,002 on a 1,600-point scale — suggesting that those A's on report cards might be fool's gold.
The pace of motherhood in California is slowing and its members are aging, a shift demographers expect to continue and contribute to far-reaching and uncertain changes in the decades to come.
Last year, the state reached a historic milestone: the lowest birth rate on record — 12.4 births per thousand people. That rate was 12.3 for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and a Southern California News Group analysis of state projections shows the region’s rate could fall another 24 percent by 2040.
When progressive journalists, including those in Texas, speak about the California model, they usually refer to the state’s economic performance since 2010, which has been well above the national average. Yet this may have been only an aberrant phenomenon. Since 2010, Texas’ job count has grown by 20.6 percent compared to 18.6 percent for California. If you pull the curtain even further, to 2000, however, the gap is even bigger, with employment growing 32.7 percent in Texas compared to 18 percent in California. The main problem is that California’s once remarkably varied and vital economy has become dangerously dependent on the Bay Area tech boom. Since 2010, the Silicon Valley-San Jose economy and San Francisco have been on a tear, growing their employment base by 25 percent. Job growth in the rest of the state has been a more modest 15 percent. “It’s not a California miracle, but really should be called a Silicon Valley miracle,” notes Chapman University forecaster Jim Doti. “The rest of the state really isn’t doing well.”