California Today: California Today: How California Helps the U.S. Economy

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Cargo at the Port of Los Angeles. Technology, trade and tourism have helped propel California’s economy. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Good morning.

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Today’s introduction comes from Conor Dougherty, a reporter based in the Bay Area.

On Friday, the United States recorded its 80th consecutive month of job growth, which is the longest streak on record and has pushed the unemployment rate to 4.3 percent from 10 percent in the depths of the recession. After a long and painful recovery, the nation is nearing full employment — and California has played an outsize role.

Over the last five years, California has outperformed the nation in just about every important economic metric. Yes, the state is big, accounting for about 12 percent of the nation’s population. But its share of economic growth has been even bigger.

California accounted for 17 percent of job growth in the United States from 2012 to 2016, and a quarter of the growth in gross domestic product.

California Leads Job Growth

California’s Share of Jobs

California’s Share of Job Growth

California’s Share of Jobs

California’s Share of Job Growth

“What these numbers say is that California is crucial to U.S. growth, far beyond what we could expect from our population alone,” said Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

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California was hit hard by the housing bust and recession, so it makes sense that the state would have a stronger rebound. But it also shows how the recovery has been guided by what Mr. Levy calls “the three Ts,” which are technology, trade and tourism.

San Francisco and the Silicon Valley have had a yearslong boom, while the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been at the center of a rebound in container traffic and international trade. Hollywood has done well, too: As cable channels and companies like Netflix and Amazon have ramped up their original programming, Southern California has seen a surge in production jobs.

The downside to all this success is that the state now has quite a lot to lose. With a large immigrant population and a huge port complex, California is at a much greater risk of being hurt by President Trump’s muscular immigration policies and desire to curb imports and tear up trade agreements.

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California Online

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Adam Lee is part of a diaspora of ethnic Hmong families who have come from across the United States to live in Northern California to grow marijuana. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

• Hmong farmers have moved to the Northern California mountains in the “green rush” set off by marijuana legalization. [The New York Times]

Gov. Jerry Brown, in China, visited cities that see themselves as environmentally conscious. [Los Angeles Times]

• Democrats have embraced an unlikely-seeming cause: a government takeover of health care. [The New York Times]

• Nearly a year since the state’s right-to-die law took effect, patients are struggling to find doctors who will help. [The Mercury News]


From left, Dr. Jordan Shlain, the founder of Private Medical, with his partners, Dr. Eric Swagel, Dr. Leila Alpers and Dr. Yan Chin, in their offices in San Francisco. Credit Peter Prato for The New York Times

• For $40,000 a year, a boutique medical service in San Francisco lets wealthy Americans jump the line. [The New York Times]

• Fans were roused by the return of Coach Steve Kerr as the Warriors cruised to another victory over the Cavaliers. [The New York Times]

• Do the Warriors even need a coach? Michael Powell likens Golden State to a self-driving car. [The New York Times]


During Marissa Mayer’s five-year tenure at the top of Yahoo, users shifted to Google, Facebook and other rivals, and the company was hit by big privacy breaches. By the time Yahoo is absorbed by Verizon, she will have made about $239 million. Credit Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

• Why did Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, get more than $900,000 a week? It’s complicated. [The New York Times]

• A virtual reality pioneer was forced to leave Facebook after facing political criticism. Now, he is developing surveillance technology. [The New York Times]

Bill Maher overstepped his privilege as a comedian. That’s bad. But it’s not a hate crime, writes Wesley Morris. [The New York Times]


The California coastline in the Big Sur area, which has been isolated by landslides and a ruined bridge. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

• A 36-hour journey into California’s newest coastal island — Big Sur. [KQED]

• A Sausalito houseboat that once hosted Jack Kerouac and Maya Angelou is now an artist residency. [Artsy]

Coming Up This Week

On Monday, Apple will show off new features for the iPhone and other devices at its annual developer conference.

LA Pride 2017 runs Monday to Sunday. A weekend festival in West Hollywood features performances by Brandy and Chromeo. A protest march is planned on Sunday.

On Tuesday, a special election will be held in Los Angeles to replace Xavier Becerra, who left Congress to become California’s attorney general.

The San Francisco Jazz Festival begins Tuesday with 43 concerts spread over two weeks, including Jake Shimabukuro, Con Brio and Jacob Collier.

And Finally …


Harriette Thompson crossed the finish line in San Diego on Sunday. Credit Jerod Harris/Getty Images

The American distance runner Jeffrey Eggleston won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego on Sunday, beating more than 30,000 entrants with a time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 18 seconds.

But he had to the share the spotlight with a petite, 94-year-old grandmother.

Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to officially complete a half marathon, or 13.1 miles.

Ms. Thompson, a former concert pianist from North Carolina, crossed the finish line after a run — more accurately a brisk walk — of 3 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds.

She already held the distinction of oldest woman to complete a full marathon, which she did in 2015 at age 92, also at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego.

Thompson has lost a number of loved ones to cancer, according to The Charlotte Observer. She said she liked the San Diego race because of its dedication to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In an interview with Women’s Running magazine before Sunday’s race, Ms. Thompson said perhaps people do not think a 94-year-old woman can do much.

“It’s amazing to me that people are making such a deal out of this,” she said. “I’m amazed at how many young people say, ‘I’m running just because of you.’ And I think, ‘Oh, good. I’m glad I’m good for something.’”

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The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Davis.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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