California’s economy passes UK’s to become world’s fifth biggest

People visit Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles county. Photograph: Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy/Alamy

California’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth largest, according to new federal data made public on Friday.

Despite having a population of only 40 million compared with the UK’s 65 million people, California’s gross domestic product of $2.7tn has overtaken the UK’s $2.6tn.

The so-called Golden State’s GDP rose by $127bn in the period from 2016 to 2017, while the UK’s economic output fell slightly over that time when measured in US dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations. British GDP has fallen steadily from $3tn in 2014, according to World Bank figures.

The release of Friday’s data demonstrated the sheer immensity of California’s economy, home to a thriving technology sector in Silicon Valley, the world’s entertainment capital in Hollywood and America’s “salad bowl” in its agricultural heartland. It also reflects a substantial turnaround since the recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008.

California’s economic output is now surpassed only by the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan and Germany.