During remarks to the Sacramento Host Breakfast audience this morning, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis began her speech by focusing on the strength of the state’s economy and talking about how it was able to recover from the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking back to the start of the pandemic, when California was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, Kounalakis said, “…it was almost an unthinkable decision at the time, no one knew, no one could really imagine what would happen when we unplugged the engine of the world’s fifth largest economy.”
Thanks to the persistence of California’s frontline workers and businesses, she said, California was able to manage its way through an extraordinary time.
“Let me just say, on behalf of myself and all of the people of the state of California, thank you,” she said.
She further thanked the business community for its part in helping grow the state’s economy. There are many positive facts about California’s economic strength, she told attendees. Just two years ago, the state had lost 2.8 million jobs and it was predicted the state would see a $54 billion budget deficit. Today, however, not only does the state have an unprecedented $98 billion budget surplus, but it also has regained more than 91% of the jobs lost during the pandemic.
By many accounts, California is leading the country, Kounalakis said. The state’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.8% in 2021 and the state has retained its distinction as the world’s 5th largest economy. California also has retained its place as No. 1 in two-way trade, manufacturing and agriculture.
Kounalakis said she is often asked about the state’s challenges, such as inflation, home prices, wildfires and taxation, among other concerns. And she responds by pointing out that, “We have many difficult challenges in California, but a growing economy gives us a powerful tool to help us address those challenges.”