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Bottom Line: While continued economic recovery can be seen on several fronts, many Californians remain out of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the California economy. Over the last year, the state has experienced abrupt and dramatic swings in economic activity. While a variety of data is available to track developments in the state economy, drawing clear conclusions from these disparate data points can be difficult. To help make sense of this varied data, this post pulls together and synthesizes ten key data points on the state economy. Our goal is to provide a quick, simple snapshot of recent trends in this data. The graphic below provides this snapshot.

We display each variable as a standardized index that shows how the current level of each variable compares to historic norms. At the top of the graphic, we aggregate the ten variables into a single measure that attempts to capture what changes in the individual variables can tell us about the overall trend in the state’s economy.

Since last summer, the state’s economy generally has been in a pattern of recovery. The recovery, however, has been bumpy, with large improvements in some months and little or no improvement in other months. February data suggested a significant uptick in the economy, with employment growing, unemployment falling, and households increasing spending.  


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