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California Economy

California supports a large and diverse economy with the highest economic production among the states. If California were a country, it would rank around tenth in the value of goods and services produced.

California's service industries, as a group, make up the largest part of the state's gross product.

Agriculture

California leads all of the other states in farm income. It's positioned as the agricultural powerhouse of the United States. About 73% of the state's agricultural revenues are derived from crops while the other 27% of revenues are generated by livestock commodities.

In terms of revenue generated, California's top five agricultural products are dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, grapes, almonds, and cattle and calves.

Crops

California grows over 200 different crops, some grown nowhere else in the nation. Crops include grapes, almonds, strawberries, oranges and walnuts.

California produces almost all of the country's almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. It leads in the production of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries. Only Florida produces more oranges.

The most important vegetable crops grown in the state are lettuce and tomatoes. Again, California leads the way. Broccoli and carrots rank second followed by asparagus, cauliflower, celery, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Only Texas grows more cotton than California.

Hay, rice, corn, sugar beets, and wheat are also grown in large quantities.

Livestock

Livestock and livestock products include milk, beef cattle, eggs, sheep, turkeys, hogs and horses. Dairy products are California's most valuable products followed by cattle and calves and chicken eggs.

California is the second ranked producer of livestock products behind Texas.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes. California ranks first among the states in manufacturing.

Electrical equipment, components, and military communication equipment are California's leading manufactured products including electronic systems for aircraft and missiles.

Other products are audiotape and videotape, lighting equipment, and telephone equipment.

Manufacture of computer machinery ranks second in production, followed by food product processing of baked goods, beverages, canned fruits and vegetables.

Mining

California is also among the country's leading mining states with producing a greater variety of mined products than any other state.

Oil is the number one product.

California mines all of the boron that is produced in the United States.

It's the leading producer of diatomite, sand and gravel, sodium compounds, and tungsten and among the top producers of gold, gypsum, magnesium compounds, molybdenum, perlite, potash, and pumice.

Fishing

With 840 miles of coastline, it's probably not surprising that California's commercial fishing operations rank the top spot among the states.

With a catch larger than any other state, Tuna is the most valuable fish caught by the fleet.

Swordfish is the second most valuable catch.

Halibut, herring, mackerel, rockfish, sablefish, salmon, shark, sole are also important to the industry.

Abalones, crabs, shrimp, and squid are also counted as part of the California commercial fishing industries catch.

Services

The service industries of California, like most states, generate the highest portion of the state's gross state product.

Community, business, and personal services form California's leading service industry, including private health care, law firms and engineering companies, hotels and entertainment companies, and repair shops.

Real estate, finance and insurance form the second-ranking service industry in California followed by wholesale and retail trade in food products, medical supplies, motor vehicles and petroleum products.

Sources

David W. Eakins and Tom L. McKnight, "California," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/087960, August 14, 2001.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "California State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_CA.pdf> (12 January 2006)

"California." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 1 May 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9111277>.

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