California's 'Crisis Stage'

March 21, 2019
Job growth is outstripping the supply of homes new employees can afford in California, causing some employers to leave the state.
Photo: Unsplash/Hardik Pandya

Job growth is outstripping the supply of homes new employees can afford in California, causing some employers to leave the state.

Rob Lapsley, president of executive association the California Business Roundtable, says that for employers, "we're at a crisis stage," as companies increasingly have offers of promotion or employment turned down, due to the cost of living and housing in the state. Lapsley adds that the types of jobs leaving the state means “we’re not growing the strong middle class that we used to.” According to the California Association of Realtors, California's median home price in 2018 was $570,010, more than twice that of the national median, and in the Bay Area, the median is about $1 million, Realtor.com reports.

Duolingo, a language-learning startup based in Pittsburgh, put up a billboard last year along a San Francisco freeway reading: “Own a home. Work in tech. Move to Pittsburgh.”

Lowell Reade, formerly a user-experience researcher at Facebook, was among Duolingo’s recruits. He took a job at the company last year and swapped his $2,300 per-month, 350 square-foot apartment in the city of Palo Alto, Ca., for a three-bedroom in Pittsburgh that rents for $1,800. “It was becoming difficult to imagine a future that was appealing to me” in Silicon Valley, said Mr. Reade.

Duolingo put the billboard back up last week.

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