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Fresno Economic Growth No. 6 in the Nation. INVEST Fresno Wants to Build on That.



A recent study finds that Fresno has the sixth-largest growth in productivity among the 50 largest U.S. cities. (Shutterstock)
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Despite high inflation and economic uncertainty gripping the nation, there are signs of optimism close to home.

Amy Fuentes

Clint Olivier


In fact, the city of Fresno is on the rise. That’s the takeaway from a recent report by the American Growth Project that examined the economies of the 50 largest U.S. cities.

According to the report, in the past 15 years, Fresno experienced the sixth-largest growth in productivity — the most important factor contributing to a higher standard of living. And in another report by the American Growth Project, Fresno ranked 13th for the fastest-growing cities in 2022 with GDP growth of 2.3%. In this national ranking, San Francisco was the only California city ranked higher than Fresno.

These aren’t abstract economic numbers. If you take a drive through Fresno, you can see the real, tangible results of this growth.

There’s the transformation of the old Hotel Fresno into mixed-use housing and retail, the recently announced tenant activity at The Marketplace at Fancher Creek, the massive expansion of Fresno Yosemite International Airport, the thousands of new jobs created in our growing retail distribution sector, and the continuing growth of Fresno State, which is ranked 30th in the country for social mobility according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-2023 Best College rankings.

City Tax Revenue Climbs 42%, Poverty Drops 36%

We can also see the results of Fresno’s economic growth by examining the city budget. In the past five years, Fresno’s sales tax revenue has increased by 42% thanks to city leaders who recognized the economic impact and helped attract retail distribution centers like Amazon and Ulta. Today, Fresno has more revenue to invest in critical neighborhood services because the city receives sales tax revenue from items that are shipped from our local retail distribution centers — regardless of whether the shopper lives within the city or is located in another state.

However, Fresno’s economic progress is best measured by our declining poverty rate — a 36% drop in the past eight years. The economic growth we are experiencing here in Fresno is creating quality jobs that are lifting people out of poverty — improving the lives of everyday Fresno families.

While we can take pride in how far Fresno has come, we must also face the reality that there is a long way to go. Despite Fresno’s declining poverty rate, it is still nearly double the rate of California as a whole. That is unacceptable.

As the community of Fresno, if we are going to continue the progress we are making and redouble our commitment to raising the standard of living for low-income families, then we must do all that we can to support a diverse and growing economy. A pivot away from a growth-oriented economy here in Fresno would reverse the incredible success our community has seen and risk more families falling into poverty.

INVEST Fresno Seeks a Better Future for All

INVEST Fresno was formed to provide a voice for continued economic progress that can create greater opportunities for all Fresnans. That’s our mission: to champion a sustainable Fresno economy that improves our community today and for future generations.

As a nonprofit organization, INVEST Fresno is building a broad and diverse coalition of community leaders and organizations, local businesses, and residents. Our focus is on civic engagement and public policy advocacy.

Together we are:

  • Invested in community. A strong economy produces the tax base needed to improve neighborhood services and ensure a safe and thriving Fresno.
  • Invested in quality jobs. Attracting new businesses, industries, and innovation to Fresno creates sustainable jobs with competitive wages and benefits like health insurance — allowing people to build a future in Fresno.
  • Invested in creating a better future for all. A growing, healthy economy is critical for building a vibrant Fresno for future generations.

We must further innovate and diversify our economy so that the people of our community can prosper and thrive in the city we all love.

To learn more about INVEST Fresno and join our coalition, visit

About the Authors

Amy Fuentes and Clint Olivier are INVEST Fresno Advisory Committee members. Fuentes is the COO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, while Olivier is the CEO of the Central Valley Business Federation and a former Fresno City Councilmember.

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