California Overtakes France to Become Sixth-Largest Economy

  • Golden State buoyed by technology, agriculture, manufacturing
  • Healthy economy and exchange-rate movement fueled growth

Buildings stand in the skyline of downtown in this aerial photograph taken above San Francisco on Oct. 5, 2015.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

California has overtaken France as the world’s sixth-largest economy, fueled by strong growth and the U.S. dollar’s gains against foreign currencies, state data released Tuesday show.

The most-populous U.S. state, with a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion, has also eclipsed recession-plagued Brazil.

“This is the result of both good growth in California and exchange-rate movements of the U.S. dollar versus other currencies,” said Irena Asmundson, chief economist in the California Department of Finance.

Governor Jerry Brown, 78, is running the state during an economic turnaround driven by technology companies including Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., along with agricultural and manufacturing industries that lead the U.S. Since taking office in 2011, Brown steered the state away from fiscal turmoil and persistent deficits to budget surpluses.

California grew by 4.1 percent in 2015, compared with a 2.4 percent increase for the U.S. and 1.1 percent for France, Asmundson said.

Last year, California created the most jobs of any state, more than the second- and third-most-populous states Florida and Texas combined. Four of the world’s 10 largest companies are based in California, including Alphabet Inc. and Facebook.

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