Get Adobe Flash player


2000s Job Growth Continues to Follow Population

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

The United States lost jobs between 2000 and 2010, the first loss between census years that has been recorded in the nation’s history. The decline was attributable to two economic shocks, the contraction following the 9/11 attacks and the Great Recession, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, even in this moribund job […]

Read more

Moving to North Dakota: The New Census Estimates

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

With the exception of California, all of the 10 states losing the largest number of domestic migrants  were in the Northeast or the Midwest The new state (and DC) population estimates indicate a  substantial slowdown in growth, from an annual rate of 0.93 percent during the  2000s to 0.75% between 2011 and 2012. This 20 […]

Read more

Global Warming Bill Could Become Big Pork Barrel

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Crossposted on Orange County Register One of the principal justifications for the California High Speed Rail line planned from Anaheim to San Francisco is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Air Resources Board seem poised to spend “cap and trade” revenue from Assembly Bill 32 (the “Global Warming Solutions Act” […]

Read more

The Export Business in California (People and Jobs)

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

California Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg countered my Wall Street Journal commentary California Declares War on Suburbia in a letter to the editor (A Bold Plan for Sustainable California Communities) that could be interpreted as suggesting that all is well in the Golden State. The letter suggests that business are not being driven away to […]

Read more

California’s Jobs Engine Broke Down Well Before the Financial Crisis

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Crossposted on newgeography Everybody knows that California’s economy has struggled mightily since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The state’s current unemployment rate, 12.1 percent, is a full 3 percentage points above the national rate. Liberal pundits and politicians tend to blame this dismal performance entirely on the Great Recession; as Jerry Brown put […]

Read more

Private Investors Shun Brazil High Speed Rail Bid

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Cross-posted at New Geography. In April of 2011 the California High Speed Rail Authority held a meeting of potential investors and vendors interested in participating in the proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail project. Project sponsors have insisted they could gain substantial private investment for the project. The Authority indicated that the meeting […]

Read more

A Lesson for CA? Economist Mag Calls for British Govt. to Cancel High Speed Rail

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Cross-posted at NewGeography.

The Economist magazine has called on the British government to cancel plans for the HS-2 high-speed rail line that would run from London to Birmingham and Manchester. The Economist said:

…these days politicians across the developed world hope new rapid trains, which barrel along at over 250mph (400kph), can do the same. But high-speed rail rarely delivers the widespread economic benefits its boosters predict. The British government—the latest to be beguiled by this vision of modernity—should think again

The government claims the line will cost £32 billion line, however the international experiences suggests a figure more on the order of  £32  and the experience in this corridor itself suggests costs could rise even more (see The High Speed Rail Battle of Britain).

Read more

World High-Speed Cost Increase Record

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Cross-posted at NewGeography.

California’s high-speed rail project is setting speed records, not on tracks, but rather in cost escalation. Last week, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) announced that the Bakersfield to Merced section, part of which will comprise the first part of the system to be built, will cost between $10.0 and $13.9 billion. This is an increase of approximately 40 percent to 100 percent over the previous estimate of $7.1 billion, an estimate itself less than two years old.

This "flatter than Kansas" section should be the least expensive part of the system. It can only be imagined how much costs might rise where construction is more challenging, such as tunneling through the Tehachapi Mountains and for the route across the environmentally sensitive Pacheco Pass that leads to the Silicon Valley. CHSRA officials admit that the present $43 billion cost estimate to complete the Los Angeles (Anaheim) to San Francisco first phase will rise substantially. This estimate was also less than two years old.

Read more

Outlawing New Houses in California

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Cross-posted at NewGeography.

UCLA’s most recent Anderson Forecast indicates that there has been a significant shift in demand in California toward condominiums and apartments. The Anderson Forecast concludes that this will cause problems, such as slower growth in construction employment because building multi-unit dwellings creates less employment than building the detached houses that predominate throughout California and most of the nation. The Anderson Forecast says that this will hurt inland areas (such as the Riverside-San Bernardino area and the San Joaquin Valley) because their economies are more dependent on construction than coastal areas, such as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.

Detached Housing Permits Remain Strong in the Historic Context: The Anderson Forecast reports that multi-unit building permits have recovered more quickly than building permits for detached housing. However, any such shift is likely to be highly volatile. Since the peak of the bubble, the distribution of building permits between detached and multi-unit in California has been on a roller coaster. Indeed the Anderson Forecast characterizes the “2010 US Census” as “showing a significant shift in demand toward condominiums and apartments.” Actually, the 2010 US Census asked no question from which such a conclusion about housing types or any question from which such a conclusion could be drawn.

Read more

“Patchwork” High Speed Rail System Unraveling?

Wendell Cox
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris

Cross-posted at NewGeography.

The widely dispersed opposition to proposals for high speed rail (genuine and faux) led Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to say that the Administration would press forward in a patchwork fashion if necessary.

"Patchwork" may be an overstatement. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) has plans to eliminate high speed rail funding in the current fiscal year. Already, holes have appeared in the high-speed rail plans with the cancellation of the Milwaukee to Madison line by Gov. Scott Walker and the cancellation of the Cincinnati to Cleveland line by Gov. John Kasich.

Read more