SpaceX employee
An employee assembles a rocket engine at the SpaceX factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne. Courtesy SpaceX

California beats business arch-rival Texas by a wide margin in a new raking of state economies.

Buoyed by high marks for innovation and overall economic activity, the Golden State ranked 4th nationally in the report released Monday by WalletHub.

Washington state was first on the list, followed by Utah and Massachusetts. Texas, which has bought television ads to try to attract California companies, was a distant 12th.

“U.S. economic growth depends heavily on the performance of individual states,” said WalletHub. “But some contribute more than others. California, for instance, blossomed in 2017 as the fifth largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP larger than that of countries like the U.K., France and India.”

California is often criticized for high taxes, but that doesn’t seem to be harming its economy, according to the report.

“Tax rates are not the only thing firms consider when making decisions about where to go or entrepreneurs are making decisions about where to start a company,” noted John L. Campbell, a professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. “Other things include, for instance: quality of the labor force, infrastructure, housing availability for prospective employees, cultural amenities,…the quality of the school system, potential for public-private partnerships, etc.”

WalletHub, a Washington, DC-based financial services company, used 28 metrics to compare states across three dimensions: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential.

California ranked third in both economic activity and innovation potential and 35th in economic heath.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.