Nationwide, pension costs are eating up more of city general funds, leaving less money to spend on day-to-day needs, such as garbage pickup or parks maintenance. The median spending on pensions among the country’s 250 largest cities rose to 10% of general budgets in 2012, up from 7.75% in 2007, according to data provided to The Wall Street Journal by Merritt Research Services LLC.
But an expected softening in October—amid a collapse in consumer confidence due to the government shutdown and weaker labor market—suggests a long-awaited pickup in economic growth may have to wait until next year.
Stan Druckenmiller makes an unlikely class warrior. He’s a member of the 1%—make that the 0.001%—one of the most successful money managers of all time, and 60 years old to boot. But lately he has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don’t hear out of Washington. It’s how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller’s generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z.
The nation’s statistical agencies are preparing to downsize economic reports tracking local economies and foreign investment in the U.S., as part of a new wave of budget cuts that is forcing the agencies to re-evaluate how they allocate resources in order to maintain the most prominent economic data.
But the recovery has left many young people behind. The official unemployment rate for Americans under age 25 was 15.6% in August, down from a peak of nearly 20% in 2010 but still more than 2½ times the rate for those 25 and older—a gap that has widened during the recovery. Moreover, the unemployment rate ignores the hundreds of thousands of young people who have taken shelter from the weak job market by going to college, enrolling in training programs or otherwise sitting on the sidelines. Add them back in, and the unemployment rate for Americans under 25 would be over 20%. Even those lucky enough to be employed are often struggling. Little more than half are working full time—compared with about 80% of the population at large—and 12% earn minimum wage or less. The median weekly wage for young workers has fallen more than 5% since 2007, after adjusting for inflation; for those 25 and older, wages have stayed roughly flat.
Workers in California would be paid at least $10 an hour in 2016 under a bill passed by the legislature Thursday, a measure likely to make the state the first to guarantee such a high minimum wage.
California lawmakers took a major step Thursday toward lowering the state’s high electricity prices—and set the stage for a big battle over incentives that have turned the state into the biggest market for residential-rooftop solar power. A bill passed by the legislature Thursday repeals a 2001 law, meant to encourage conservation, which requires the state’s investor-owned utilities to sell power at rates that rise sharply the more electricity a customer uses. The new legislation doesn’t say how prices should be set in the future, leaving that to regulators, utilities and public advocates to work out.
California imposed a huge retroactive income tax increase last year, but some 2,500 small business owners are learning that once is never enough for Sacramento. The state now wants to hit them with a retroactive levy going back to 2008, to the tune of $120 million or more.
United Farm Workers and its government allies are working hard to destroy jobs.
North Carolina is close to dropping one of the most extensive programs for awarding tax breaks to film companies, in what would be a high-profile retreat from an arms race among states to lure Hollywood productions.
California sold $764 million in debt Tuesday at lower-than-expected interest rates, a vote of investor confidence in the state’s improved finances.
Electricity consumption per capita in California stopped increasing in the 1970s, around the same time policymakers had also enacted stricter energy-efficiency policies, such as mandates on buildings and appliances. As electricity consumption continued to rise in other states, regulation advocates hailed California as a role model for the rest of the nation. But according to an economist at Georgetown University, California’s savings are largely due to other long-run trends.
Despite high unemployment, manufacturers find themselves short of skilled candidates for many jobs, such as operating or programming computer-controlled cutting tools or repairing sophisticated machinery. Manufacturers also fret that the U.S. isn’t producing enough engineers to design products and factory processes—and drive innovation.