How is the Valley’s economy bouncing back from pandemic? Here’s what a new study says.

From starting up new businesses to new housing construction to production, here’s a look at how the Valley is performing post-pandemic.

A recent study revealed that San Joaquin County is currently leading the Central Valley in incoming economic investment in the wake of the pandemic.

Financial technology company SmartAsset studied incoming investment throughout the nation in 2021, with a focus on businesses, real estate, government and the local economy as a whole. 


The study considered business establishment growth over a three-year period, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and new building permits to compile the rankings. 

While Southern California is booming – Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties took the top three spots – San Joaquin County placed seventh out of California’s 58 counties. 

Madera County was the lone other representative from the Central Valley to stand out from the pack, placing 10th. 

San Joaquin County has experienced a 6.7 percent increase in business growth to go along with a $593 million GDP and 16.1 new building permits per 1,000 homes. 

Madera County’s numbers were somewhat similar: 4.6 percent business growth, $101 million GDP and 16.8 new building permits per 1,000 homes. 

In the top 10, only Placer County and San Benito County placed higher than the Central Valley’s top two representatives in new building permits with 19.3 and 26 per 1,000 homes, respectively. 

When only looking at business growth, Kings County posted the 10th best metrics in the state with a 5.4 percent increase over the previous three years. 

GDP was not the strong suit of the Valley as none of the region’s counties placed in the top 10 of the state. 

On the other hand, Merced County joined Madera and San Joaquin Counties in the housing boom, coming in at 10th in new building permits – 12 per 1,000 homes. 

The following is a breakdown of the Central Valley’s economic standing: 

Business GrowthGDP Growth in millionsNew Building Permits per 1,000 homes
San Joaquin County6.7 percent$59316.1
Stanislaus County4.7 percent$4593
Merced County4.5 percent$15712
Madera County4.6 percent$10116.8
Fresno County4.4 percent$8589.5
Kings County5.4 percent$836.6
Tulare County3.7 percent$32310.6
Kern County3.7 percent$6528.4
Central Valley Average4.7 percent$40314.3
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