09/18/2020

News

Lone Star Quartet

But unlike California, whose cities have refocused on elite priorities at the expense of middle-class occupations, Texas offers a complete spectrum of economic activities in its metros. Another key difference is that Texas cities have mostly embraced pro-development policies that have kept them affordable by allowing housing supply to expand with population, while California’s housing prices blasted into the stratosphere due to severe development restrictions. Texas cities also benefit from favorable state policies, such as the absence of a state income tax and a reasonable regulatory and litigation environment. These factors make Texas cities today what California’s used to be: places to go in search of the American dream.

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So Much for Peak Driving (VMT)

The planners and analysts who watched vehicle miles traveled (VMT) trends seemingly peak are no doubt anxious as the preliminary 2015 VMT numbers produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed new record total VMT well ahead of the 2007 number that many had hoped signaled peak U.S. VMT. Perhaps even more disconcerting was the sharp increase in per capita VMT, up approximately 2.6 percent for 2015.

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The Best Cities For Jobs 2016

While speculation is mounting that they’re overheating, the tech boom is still creating jobs at a rapid pace in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, placing them atop our annual assessment of The Best Cities For Jobs for the third year in a row. A number of secondary tech centers are posting strong growth as well on the back of the boom, as well as spillover from Northern California as high prices push expanding companies and startups to locate elsewhere.

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America’s Software And Tech Hotspots

Essentially we may be witnessing two parallel, and notionally conflicting developments, notes analyst Mark Schill of the Praxis Strategy Group. There are clearly a series of regions, as identified by the report, that have achieved critical mass in software and across many other tech fields. Yet at the same time, the most rapid growth is taking place largely in non-traditional tech hubs, including places like Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Phoenix, all seeing rapid growth in tech jobs as well as a growing concentration.

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Evolving California High Speed Rail Now Degraded To Only A Commuter Train

The key foundation for promoting this new plan, is that ridership will be greatly enhanced with commuters using this High Speed Rail section to commute from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley. The Authority and others are promoting this projection as a major improvement to the jobs / housing imbalance that currently prevails in Silicon Valley. . . The projected HSR fare from Fresno or Bakersfield is $68 each way. For a daily commuter that is $136 per day, or about $34000 per year to pay for the HSR train ride. This does not include other charges like parking or transportation from Diridon to a final working destination.

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A $15 Minimum Wage Is A Booby Prize For American Workers

In effect, the fight for $15 is a by-product of giving up – capitulating on the idea that better opportunities can be created than the menial service jobs that increasingly are the only opportunities for the urban poor. Higher wages will make these jobs moderately more tolerable, while further cementing the wide gulf between the haves and have knots.

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Building a Rail Transit System

So cities need to keep in mind that if they build a rail system, they not only have to pay to build it, they pretty much have to pay to rebuild it every 40 years. This is a challenge because as we see it’s easier to muster the will to build something new than to maintain something you already have. . . The problem comes in for cities that aren’t NYC, Chicago, Boston, Philly, DC, and San Francisco. Once you get below that group, the value starts becoming more debatable.

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Rethinking America’s Cities’ Success Strategy

Most cities are economically weak actors with limited ability to affect the critical forces driving their economies. Furthermore, changes in the structure of the economy often have changed the composition of urban leadership in ways that break the link between personal and community success and create an additional bias in favor of subsidized real estate development as a civic strategy. Less dependent on the local market, this local leadership increasingly identifies with a global community and its concerns in ways that have lowered the civic priority placed on inclusive economic development and entrepreneurship. To change these trends, local leadership should focus on inclusive local economic success first and make policies that reflect that priority and address areas where local government can make an impact. Creating an entrepreneur- and business-friendly local regulatory environment is a key piece of this effort, and the delivery of high-quality basic public services is vital.

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“To the Suburb!” Lessons from Minorities and the New Immigrants

What this means is that the suburbs as a whole are now equally, if not more diverse, than the populations living in most urban cores. They also are generally less ethnically segregated.

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Just How Much has Los Angeles Transit Ridership Fallen?

Los Angeles transit ridership has fallen even more than a recent Los Angeles Times front page story indicated, according to Thomas A. Rubin, who served as Chief Financial Officer (auditor/controller) of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) from 1989 until 1993,

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Education and Economic Growth

It is an article of faith among California’s political class that insufficient higher educational opportunities are a constraint on California’s economic and job growth.  . . Unfortunately, the facts disagree with the faith. California is educating far more people than it is creating jobs for them to take. In the past 10 years, California’s public higher education system alone issued 2,455,421 degrees. Over the same period, the state saw a net increase of only 1,136,642 jobs.

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This is Why You Can’t Afford a House

After examining Piketty’s groundbreaking research, Matthew Rognlie of MIT concluded that much of the observed inequality is from redistribution of housing wealth away from the middle class. . . .Rognlie concluded that much of this was due to land regulation, and suggested the need to expand the housing supply and reexamine the land-use regulation that he associates with the loss of middle-class wealth. . . Homes represent only 9.4 percent of the wealth of the top 1 percent, but 30 percent for those in the upper 20 percent and, for the 60 percent of the population in the middle, roughly 60 percent. The decline in property ownership threatens to turn much of the middle class into a class of rental serfs, effectively wiping out the social gains of the past half-century.

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Is California’s Economy Swell?

California has only ranked in the top 20 [net job growth rate] twice since 2006, and over that time it’s been in the bottom 20 three times.  Indeed, California has been in the top ten only once since 2001.  That was the data point they used in their analysis.

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Migration is Back

Two states, Minnesota and Massachusetts, have had 13 years of net domestic migration losses out of the last 14 years. Another nine states have had 14 years of net domestic migration losses out of 14. New York has suffered the largest loss, at 2,278,000 and the largest loss in percentage terms, 12.0%. California, also losing each of 14 years lost 1,739,000 net domestic migrants while Illinois lost 1,027,000 net domestic migrants in 14 years of losses.

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The New Masters of the Universe

This changed when a combination of keen Asian competition and Californian regulation gradually shifted the chip and computer manufacturers out of Silicon Valley, which has lost roughly 80,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. The new Valley is predominately post-industrial. For example, only 30 of about 16,000 production workers for the iPod are based in the US.
As Silicon Valley became software valley, tech firms no longer needed large numbers of semi-skilled workers and the network of small subcontractors to keep the industrial machine going. Those services, if needed, could be performed in India, China, Utah, Texas or North Carolina. ‘The job creation has changed’, notes long-time San Jose economic development official Leslie Parks. ‘We used to be the whole food chain and create all sorts of middle-class jobs. Now, increasingly, we don’t design the future – we just think about it. . .

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