What Are The Biggest Industries In California?

The film industry contributes billions to the economy of California annually. Editorial credit: 4kclips / Shutterstock.com.
The film industry contributes billions to the economy of California annually. Editorial credit: 4kclips / Shutterstock.com.

California has one of the largest economies in the United States. Were it to be compared to the world economies, this state would rank 5th as it favorably competes with countries such as Japan, Germany, and China. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, California has a GDP of $3 trillion. Nicknamed the Golden State, it contributes 14% of the economy of the United States. It also possesses one of the largest workforces in the US comprising of 14 million employees. California’s industrial success is linked to the presence of several technology-intensive manufacturing industries and the booming film industry. The fastest-growing industries in the state are healthcare, construction, technology, hospitality, and agriculture. However, the biggest industries in California are agriculture, film industry, and services sector (including tourism).


California is the leading state in the US in terms of income derived from agricultural activities. This sector also provides 10% of the state’s labor force. Out of about 99 million acres of land occupied by the State, 25 million acres have been dedicated to farmland. Part of the land used for farming is an area of 500,000 acres on the Colorado Desert. The success of this sector is associated with the state’s long growing season as well as the fertile soil. Additionally, most of the land is irrigated which results in the stability in the farming activities. The popular crops cultivated in California include kiwi fruit, lettuce, apricots, pistachios, olives, figs, almonds, oranges, walnuts, nectarines, prunes, and dates. Among the 50 American states, California is the leading producer of grapes, lemons, plums, watermelons, strawberries, avocados, and peaches. In the production of oranges, only Florida produces more oranges compared to California. The agricultural products in California are utilized for both consumption and exports. The exports account for one-fifth of the state’s income. The main cash products in California are milk, grapes, cotton, and milk.


The services sector in California comprises of professional and business services, education and health services, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality (tourism). With regards to the financial services, the state hosts some of the largest banks in the US such as Wells Fargo, Charles Swab Corporation, Silicon Valley Bank, and CIT bank. There are also varieties of businesses being operated in the state of California. More specifically, the state has 4 million small businesses that employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. The services sector also includes the education sector. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California are the largest universities in California. These two universities contribute a GDP of $120 billion annually to the state’s economy.


California’s film industry is booming with the presence of Hollywood and Disneyland being the major success driving factors. Production of Hollywood movies provides a large chunk of the state’s revenue. In 2015, this sector contributed about $49 billion to California’s economy. Furthermore, there was creation of approximately 2.4 million job opportunities.


Most of the manufacturing industries in California are technology-intensive. As a result, businesspersons who choose to operate in this sector must be ready to source for the high cost of doing business. This sector employs approximately 9.4% of California’s workforce. Industries in this sector deal in electronic computer manufacturing, software development, high-tech computers, and electronics. One of the state’s leading technology companies includes Western Digital which makes hard disk drives. Aerospace is also another significant component of California’s industrial sector. An example of a company in this field is Lockheed Martin Corp which dominates the aerospace industry. Some of the Fortune 1000 companies in California include Walmart, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Aecom, Reliance Steel & Aluminium Company, and Apple among many more.


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