California’s Future: Economy
By many measures, California’s economy is performing well. The statewide unemployment rate is at a long-term low. Jobs have been growing for an unusually long period, improving in almost all major industries and across California’s diverse regions. These improvements are reflected in family incomes, which have picked up substantially over the past few years. California’s job growth has outpaced national growth for several years, and the state now has the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Although major labor market indicators are outperforming long-term trends, many Californians see jobs and the economy as a top challenge for the state (according to the September 2019 PPIC Statewide Survey). If historical patterns are any guide, California may face an economic downturn in the near future. But even if growth continues, underlying economic realities such as stubbornly high poverty rates, income inequality, high housing costs, and polarized job opportunities may limit the state’s potential. State policymakers face a fundamental challenge: making sure that all Californians— regardless of geographic location, race, or socioeconomic background—can benefit from the state’s prosperity.
This publication is part of a briefing kit that highlights our state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in 11 key areas: