50 in 50: California

50 states in 50 weeks: U.S. states economic and infrastructure highlights.

Key Economic Indicators

GDP: $2.88 trillion

GDP 5-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) (2017-2021): 2.9% (U.S: 1.6%)

GDP per capita: $72,546 (U.S.: $58,154)

Population: 39.2 million

Population 5-year CAGR (2017-2021): -0.1% (U.S.: 0.5%)

Unemployment: 5.8% (U.S.: 3.9%)

Economic health ranking: #30 out of 50

Fiscal health ranking: #42 out 50

Overall tax climate ranking: #49 out of 50 

Key Sectors and Metro Areas

Top five industry sectors by 2021 GDP:

GDP ($ billions)
% of total GDP
Real estate and rental and leasing
Professional, scientific, and technical services
State and local government

Top three industry sectors by GDP 5-year CAGR (2017-2021):

GDP 5-year CAGR
Management of companies and enterprises

Top three metro areas by GDP:

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

Top three areas by population 5-year CAGR (2016-2020):

  • Stockton
  • Merced
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 

Infrastructure Highlights

Infrastructure: ASCE Infrastructure Grade (2019): C-

According to the ASCE, the areas in need of most infrastructure improvement in California are energy, roads, inland waterways, and levees. The state, which has a legislatively-mandated target of 100% clean energy by 2045, has been affected by extreme weather and elevated costs for energy services. California is among those with the highest percentage of roads and bridges in poor condition. The IIJA will make at least $45.5 billion available to The Golden State over the next five years based on the following allocation (additional funds may be deployed as federal grants get awarded to states):

Improvement Area
$25.3 billion
Roads and highways
$9.5 billion
Public transportation
$4.2 billion
Bridge replacement and repair
$3.5 billion
Drinking water infrastructure
$1.5 billion
$384 million
Electric vehicle (EV) charging network
$100 million
Broadband (minimum allocation)
$84 million
Wildfire protection
$40 million
Cyberattack protection

Construction spending (Value of Construction Put in Place – CPiP):

  • Private Nonresidential 2020 CPiP: $21.3 billion; -5.1% 5-year CAGR (2016-2020), below overall U.S. CAGR of 2.0%
  • State & Local 2020 CPiP: $42.6 billion; 8.8% 5-year CAGR (2016-2020), above overall U.S. CAGR of 4.8%

AE Industry

ENR 500 firm headquarters (2021): 48

M&A activity since 2018:

  • 174 deals with CA buyers
  • 429 deals with CA sellers

For customized market research, contact Rafael Barbosa at [email protected] or 972.266.4955. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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