California’s 2017 Economic Outlook Is Bright

Since the end of the recession, California’s economy has been one of the top performers in the U.S., buoyed by the robust home price appreciation recorded over the past half-dozen years. A recent study by Expert Market ranks all 50 states’ economic performances between 2010 and 2015. The company uses six criteria to gauge economic prosperity: unemployment rates, gross domestic product growth, startup density, home value increases, a rise in new business owners, and household income gains. Since the recovery began, unemployment has declined and household income has grown in every state. Forty-three states experienced GDP growth, 37 added more startup businesses, and 42 saw home values increase. Just 17 states experienced an uptick in the number of new entrepreneurs opening their own businesses, with the largest such gains in Hawaii. The study ranks California No. 5 in the nation for overall economic performance, with the second-highest home value gains in the U.S. — 6.19 percent between 2010 and 2015. The Golden State’s per capita GDP growth (1.70 percent) and startup-density gains (1.16 percent) rank among the top 10 in the U.S., which Expert Marker Researcher and study author Bobbi Brant attributes to the many businesses that begin in Silicon Valley. Many of those startups appear to be the brainchildren of repeat business owners, as California places 36th for the rate of new entrepreneurs. California didn’t rank particularly high for unemployment by Expert Market’s criteria, but the state’s jobless claims fell to 5.3 percent in November, the second time this year that they’ve reached a nine-year low. In a Dec. 21 analysis of California’s November job numbers, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp puts the unemployment rate across the nine-county Bay Area at 3.7 percent, with San Mateo, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties leading the state. As of November, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Expert Market says that California’s household income increased by 1.69 percent during that five-year period, 28th in the nation. Nevertheless, the Bay Area has some of the best-paying job markets in the nation. Hepp’s aforementioned analysis says that Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties rank among the top five in the U.S. for highest wages. Santa Clara is the nation’s highest-paying county with an average weekly wage of $2,252, almost twice the national average.