As it slowly recovers from its worst recession since the Great Depression, where does California's economy fit into the global marketplace?
A massive new economic forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. confirms that were California a nation, it would place No. 9 among the globe's economies, just behind No. 8 Italy and just ahead of Russia.
The data-filled report, to be unveiled today in Los Angeles, pegs California's economy at just under $2 trillion a year (2011 numbers) and implies that it could move up or down in the rankings, depending on what happens to the volatile European economy. The state once ranked as high as sixth.
California's economy saw an inflation-adjusted 2 percent growth from 2010 to 2011, while Italy's grew at just one-fifth of that rate. Among the economies larger than California's, only China, Germany and Brazil, which leaped into sixth place, had higher rates of growth than the state. But Russia's economy grew twice as fast as California's from 2010 to 2011, so it could push California down to 10th place.
The report says that Los Angeles and four surrounding Southern California counties would rank 16th among the world's economies at over $900 billion a year, just behind South Korea. Los Angeles County by itself, at $557.5 billion, would be 21st, lodged between No. 20 Saudi Arabia and Sweden.
Overall, the forecast is for California to recover from recession "slowly but steadily," albeit with double-digit unemployment rates for at least another year.