New Studies Show Pistachio Industry's Phenomenal Impact

Key takeaway from studies:  Pistachio Growing = Jobs! 

“Phenomenal” is an apt superlative to describe the significant economic impact that California pistachio growers and processors generate as their industry continues to grow and evolve.  Data in new American Pistachio Growers (APG)-commissioned studies project the industry’s economic impact on California’s economy will top $9 billion by 2026, a surge of more than 150% compared to 2016. Huge increases are also projected in terms of new jobs, added labor income, and the generation of indirect business taxes in the next five years.

The new projections for the benefit of APG members come from an economic impact study by The Tootelian Company, which analyzed grower and processor expenditures between 2016 and 2020. Dennis Tootelian, PhD, the study’s author, crunched the numbers and produced a separate study that projects the total impact of spending in terms of economic activity, and the creation of jobs and indirect business tax revenue to the year 2026.  

The comparisons between 2016 and 2020 show the significant impact from a 56 percent rise in pistachio acreage during those four years. Growers spent nearly $653 million more in 2020 than they did in 2016. Processors, too, shelled out $225.3 million more in 2020 than they did in 2016. Total economic output in 2020 was $5.2 billion compared to $3.5 billion in 2016. 

Other relevant data from the 2016-2020 study show that creation of jobs totaled 47,202 in 2020, an increase of 24,570 from the total in 2016.  Not surprising is the fact that labor income reached $2.4 billion in 2020, up $1.3 billion from the labor income of $1 billion in 2016.  Also impressive is the significant jump in the generation of indirect business taxes from $120 million in 2016 to $191 million in 2020 --- an increase of 58 percent.

Tootelian’s data examining the period 2020-2026 bear out the fact that as each new pistachio tree is planted in the Golden State, an economic wave is projected to sweep over California. He estimates that pistachio acreage in the state, both bearing and non-bearing acres, will surge ahead more than 228,000 acres in the next five years. As dollars are spent for myriad goods and services to accommodate this growth, they spur economic activity far beyond growers’ orchards and processors’ facilities. 

“The findings of this study show that growers and processors of pistachios will have an even more significant impact on California’s economy than they did in the past,” said Tootelian. He noted that the number of bearing pistachio acres is expected to rise almost 45 percent between 2020 and 2026, and the number of non-bearing acres is expected to increase more than 54 percent in the same period.

Taking into account this industry growth and the related investment by growers and processors, Tootelian projects economic output will rise from $5.2 billion in 2020 to nearly $9 billion by 2026. Creation of jobs from grower and processor spending is projected to jump 73% from 47,202 in 2020 to 81,933 by 2026.  The corresponding rise in labor income is projected to reach $4.3 billion, a jump of more than 73% from the $2.4 billion in 2020.

“It’s not an understatement to say that the data are phenomenal when viewed between 2016 and the 2026 projections,” said Tootelian. “Economic output is projected to rise 150 percent over this period, job growth is pegged at more than 262 percent, labor income is projected to surge 290 percent and indirect business tax revenue is estimated to rise by 176 percent.”

“Our industry has responded to worldwide consumer demand for a plant-based protein-dense food by investing in added production,” said APG President Richard Matoian. “Acreage that now stands at 523,000 in California is projected to rise to 751,750 by 2026, an increase of 43 percent. That means that a thriving pistachio industry in California will continue to contribute mightily towards local and state economies. That’s something for our members to be immensely proud of.”