Jobs surge in Bay Area in September, East Bay leads employment gains

The Bay Area job market raced ahead in September, bolstered by big employment gains in the East Bay, and smaller increases in the South Bay and San Francisco areas, state labor officials reported Friday.

The East Bay added 2,400 jobs, the San Francisco-San Mateo region gained 1,000 and Santa Clara County added 200 jobs during September, according to a monthly report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

The Bay Area added 5,700 jobs last month. All the numbers were adjusted for seasonal variations.

California added 44,800 jobs during September and the statewide jobless rate remained at a record low of 4.2 percent, the lowest unemployment rate in a data series that began in 1976, according to the EDD.

The Bay Area has now topped 4 million payroll jobs for two months in a row, extending an employment boom that has chalked up job gains in the nine-county region for 17 consecutive months, the EDD figures show.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Tesla’s promised lowest-cost, $35,000 Model 3 not here yet

In spite of Tesla CEO Elon Musk initially tweeting a link to a page advertising a new version of the Model 3 electric sedan for “$35,000 before incentives,” the car his company put up for sale Thursday is not the long-promised and purportedly revolutionary affordable-to-the-masses electric vehicle.

The link was soon changed to bring up a page advertising a $45,000 Model 3, which Tesla added would cost $35,000 in California for buyers who reap state and federal tax benefits if they take delivery by year’s end. The Palo Alto electric car maker’s website promises delivery of the $45,000 version in six to 10 weeks.

“Elon has the best of intentions,” said Kelley Blue Book executive analyst Rebecca Lindland. “He wants to fulfill the promise and the vision of a $35,000 Tesla. This isn’t it, though.”

The Model 3 represents Tesla’s grandest ambition, to make an affordable electric car that would revolutionize personal transportation. Many analysts believe the company’s survival is tied to the success of the lowest-cost Model 3. But versions of the car already in production have been plagued by manufacturing delays. In July, Tesla said it had finally reached a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week, after missing several previously set targets.

The $45,000 version is rear-wheel-drive and has a mid-range battery with an estimated range of 260 miles. The more expensive Model 3 with a long-range battery is estimated to travel 310 miles on a charge.

The Model 3 with a $35,000 base price will be the standard-battery version, and the battery is not yet in production. That version is estimated to be ready to deliver to customers in four to six months, with a range of 215 to 220 miles.

“That’s more than sufficient for most commutes,” Lindland said, adding that charging the vehicles can take hours, depending on where …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Embattled Facebook enlists former British deputy prime minister as its new head of global affairs

Facebook, which seems to be in the perpetual hot seat, on Friday named former U.K. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to a crucial role.

Clegg will be the social networking giant’s new head of global affairs and communications, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a Friday morning Facebook post. He will succeed Elliot Schrage, who announced in June that he would be leaving.

“Our company is on a critical journey,” Sandberg said in her post. “The challenges we face are serious and clear and now more than ever we need new perspectives to help us though this time of change.” She added that Clegg’s “experience and ability to work through complex issues will be invaluable in the years to come.”

Facebook is dealing with the aftermath of its Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the political data consulting company accessed the information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission. That crisis brought CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Washington for two days of Congressional grilling in April.

Last month, Sandberg testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, where she was asked about social media’s role in foreign interference in U.S. elections, charges of Facebook being biased against conservatives and more. Facebook is not alone in being under the regulatory microscope — other tech giants are under pressure, too, as their influence grows. Sandberg appeared alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at that hearing. And Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who was conspicuously absent at the time, is scheduled to have his turn in front of lawmakers in the coming weeks.

Clegg, who led the Liberal Democrats for several years and was Britain’s No. 2 politician from 2010 to 2015, could be instrumental as Facebook seeks to improve its relationship with European regulators, who have been setting their sights on U.S. tech giants. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


California marijuana policies at play on Election Day, even in Republican strongholds

Marijuana will once again be a hot topic on Election Day, with the future of local, state and federal cannabis policies in the hands of voters Nov. 6.

But this time, voters in states that typically lean Republican will be the ones weighing legalization measures at the ballot box.

A number of red communities in California, from the Inland Empire town of Hemet to rural El Dorado County, also will join dozens of blue communities in voting during the midterm elections on whether to allow commercial marijuana businesses.

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Republican candidates — and incumbent Democrats who haven’t traditionally supported marijuana reform — are talking about their support for regulated cannabis, too.

It’s all in response to a simple trend: support for marijuana legalization has never been higher.

“In some of these tight races, marijuana is more popular than the people who are running,” said Michael Collins, interim director for the Office of National Affairs at Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance.

Marijuana reform could see a boost if predictions prove true of higher-than-normal voter turnout among young people in particular, who support legal cannabis at by far the highest rate of any voting bloc.

Either way, the surge in interest from candidates and communities that have otherwise been conservative on drug policy seems to be yet another sign of just how mainstream cannabis has become — and, some experts say, the inevitability of federal legalization.

“The momentum is very much on our side,” Collins said. “It’s not about should we legalize marijuana, it’s about when and how.”

Federal legalization at play

There are federal bills on the table to legalize hemp, to open …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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