September 25, 2023
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New GDP data shows onset of pandemic recession in region


The combined gross domestic product of the tri-county region dropped 2.4% from 2019 to 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, a better performance than either the state or the nation as a whole, according to data released Dec. 8 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Gross domestic product is the dollar value of all goods and services produced within the borders of a county, state or nation. The BEA numbers are inflation-adjusted and are expressed in 2012 dollars.

National GDP dropped 3.4% from 2019 to 2020, the BEA said, after growing by 2.3% the previous year. California GDP declined by 2.8% in 2020 after rising 3.6% in 2019.

The figures are preliminary, and the BEA often revises its county-level data as more information becomes available. The BEA also warned that it cannot isolate the effects of the pandemic on its 2020 data or estimate how much of a county’s economic decline was pandemic-related.

Ventura County’s gross domestic product declined 2.6% between 2019 and 2020, placing it 29th in performance among California’s 58 counties. Ventura County had 2.7% GDP growth from 2018 to 2019.

Santa Barbara County’s GDP shrank by 2.1% in 2020, after growing by 0.9% the previous year. Its 2020 performance put it 25th among California counties.

San Luis Obispo County’s economy shrank by 2.3% in 2020, placing it 27th among California counties, after growth of 0.6% in 2019.