Tuesday Edition


Public transit is in crisis as cities deal with strained budgets and ridership still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels. (Governing)

According to American Public Transportation Association data, public transport use was down 27% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same time in 2019. This has compounded pre-existing revenue problems and budget shortfalls for the country’s biggest mass transit systems.

The decline of mass transit predates the pandemic. The share of Americans using public transportation to get to work has fallen from 12% in 1960 to 3% today.

In addition to the pandemic and funding issues, other factors have contributed to the drop in ridership.

  • Safety: There have been more reports of smoking, drug use and violence on public transit since the pandemic. People are choosing other ways to get around that feel safer, leading to fewer riders.

  • Uber/Lyft: A 2022 study found ride-hailing services reduced bus ridership by 10% between 2012 and 2018. In mid-sized metropolitan areas, ride-sharing apps led to a 10% drop in rail ridership.


Michigan’s repeal of its right-to-work law went into effect this month. (Fast Company)

Last March, Michigan became the first state in nearly 60 years to repeal right-to-work, which allows employees to opt out of joining a union even if the union negotiates their employment terms. 26 states have statewide right-to-work laws.

There’s debate over the effects of right-to-work laws.

  • A recent analysis from the pro-union Economic Policy Institute: “Data show that states with so-called ‘right-to-work’ (RTW) laws have lower unionization rates, wages, and benefits compared with non-RTW states.”

  • A 2023 brief from the right-leaning Manhattan Institute: “RTW laws lead to a significant increase in manufacturing employment, improved labor market outcomes, higher population growth (implying higher net migration), lower childhood poverty rates, and greater upward income mobility. … no evidence that they reduce wages or overall worker compensation.”

Unions and labor are having a big moment. Both President Biden and Donald Trump have heavily courted the union vote ahead of the 2024 election. There were 33 major strikes in the U.S. last year, the highest since 2000.

Blue state cities’ restrictive housing approval policies are sending home prices soaring and squeezing supply. (Financial Times)

Financial Times chief data reporter John Burn Murdoch: “Homes in Texan cities are cheap and their populations soaring because the state has made urban development easy. California, New York and London are overheating and squeezing out young families because their planning systems place artificial constraints on supply, making urban development extremely difficult.”

In 2022, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston led the nation in home construction permits with 77,000 and 76,000. New York, despite having about twice the population size of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, came in third. Los Angeles, the second-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., ranked seventh.

Average property prices track with supply: $1.2 million in San Francisco/Oakland, $800,000 in New York, and $300,000 in Houston.

Wall Street Journal reporter Will Parker describing the hoops affordable housing builders have to jump through in California: “In California, affordable housing developers typically abide by a host of requirements when they take public subsidies, such as tougher energy-efficiency standards and higher wages for construction workers. They often need to build amenities such as offices for social workers and transit-boosting features such as bike storage.”


Americans are retiring later in life, both because they want to and need to. (Vox)

A Pew Research Center survey found older workers are putting in 30% more hours annually than they did in 1987. And the share of 65+ Americans in the labor force has nearly doubled since 1987. The median age of the working American is now 42.

Experts say Americans aren’t retiring as early for two reasons: personal fulfillment and financial necessity. Surveys show older workers are more satisfied with their jobs than their younger counterparts. On the other hand, 43% of people aged 55-64 had no retirement savings account in 2022.

Some politicians have recently floated increasing the minimum retirement age for Social Security, which is projected to run out within the next few decades. The U.S. population is older than it’s ever been, and older Americans are one of the fastest-growing groups in the country. The population of adults age 65 and over is projected to reach 80.8 million by 2040, more than doubling in size since 2000.


A year-long Pentagon study of the Ukraine-Russia conflict has prompted the U.S. military to reevaluate its tactics for waging a modern war. (WaPo)

Washington post reporter Alex Horton: “Ukraine has demonstrated that everything U.S. troops do in the field — from planning missions and patrolling to the technology that enables virtually every military task — needs to be rethought, officials say.”

What did the Pentagon study show?

  • Electronic jamming has in some cases made expensive, high-tech weapons less effective than older artillery paired with sensors and drones.

  • Soldiers face heightened vulnerabilities due to electronic signals emitted by everyday devices, such as cellphones, which can turn them into targets.

  • Russia and Ukraine's use of floods of cheap drones has the U.S. military thinking they should be prepared for similar challenges.

  • Some tactics once thought to be obsolete are making a comeback. For instance, Ukrainians have been digging trenches to protect them from bombs and drones.

  • Innovations developed in the Ukraine conflict, such as using smartphones for drone detection, are being studied by the U.S. military for potential adoption.

Did you like an item in today’s edition? Do us a favor and forward it to a friend to help spread the word about $001 News. Also, click here to subscribe today.