California’s economy is recovering from pandemic closures that were more severe than in many other states. In the calendar first quarter the state grew at 6.3%, only slightly off the national pace of 6.4%.
Travel restrictions hit the state hard; with international arrivals still restricted, recovery is expected to be lag in the leisure and hospitality sectors. In May 2021, the state’s unemployment rate, at 7.9%, was the third-highest in the U.S. The state legislature in May noted reports that up to 30% of the state’s restaurants closed permanently.
Offsetting that, the state benefited from the strength of its technology industry, with highly-paid workers largely able to continue working from home. In the four quarters ending March 31, “state wages and salaries were up 5.9%, the nation’s just 4%,” the state legislature analyst’s office reported. Healthy incomes and tax receipts have resulted in a windfall for the state government that the legislative analyst estimates at $38 billion.