So far this decade, California has defied economic logic, largely due to the explosive growth of Silicon Valley, as well as the effects of rapid real estate appreciation. Yet, these gains have failed to reverse, and in some ways have even exacerbated, the state’s highest-in-the-nation poverty rate, growing inequality and a mounting outmigration of middle-class families. These facts suggest that it’s time to end the celebration and start focusing on how create a more expansive, less feudal California.
(Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) Employment and Wages On balance, the labor market tightened further, and contacts reported continued moderate wage gains. In the technology, financial services, and health-care sectors, demand for skilled information technology (IT) labor remained strong, pushing up wages for those workers. Contacts in the hotel industry noted widespread strong upward wage pressure for all positions, with one contact reporting plans to raise workers' wages.
Recent changes in immigration policy created substantial labor supply shortages for low-skilled workers in the agriculture sector; as a consequence, some growers discarded portions of their harvest. Several contacts observed that applicants for some low-skilled positions did not meet the minimum job requirements or were unable to pass pre-employment screenings such as drug tests.
Amazon.com today announced plans to open a fulfillment center in Fresno that will employ up to 2,500 people.
The 855,000 square-foot facility will be located in a burgeoning business zone at Orange and Central avenues — about 1,000 acres that is being primed for e-commerce and data center jobs, said Mayor Lee Brand in an interview. Brand said there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work getting the $100 million project permitted, and he expects a groundbreaking within 30 days, and about one year to build the center — putting an opening in the second half of 2018.
But top economists now are pointing to another explanation. Women seem to be leaving the workforce for some of the same reasons men are: Middle-class jobs are in short supply and working at the bottom pays less than it used to. Single women without children drove most of the downturn in women’s workforce participation from 1999 through 2007, according to a study by Professor Robert Moffitt of Johns Hopkins University. Those women don’t have to care for a child and they aren’t counting on a partner to provide for them. They are, Moffitt said, “the same as a lot of men … even though it sounds a little strange to make that analogy.” They’re also staring down the same long odds as men who lost their footing in an economy in which low-skill jobs that pay well have all been shipped abroad or obliterated by technology.
A new economic forecast from the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific shows the economy continues to grow despite an uncertain policy environment. But California should expect slower growth compared to recent years. Non-farm payroll jobs are expected to increase 1.5 percent over the next year, half the pace of the previous four years.